Having “teacher” Endurance

I get asked a lot, “how do you do so much?”   or am labeled, “the hardest working ELT teacher”.  I’m always somewhat lost as to how to respond. Baffled really. I guess I’m a fish that knows nothing about the water I swim in!

You see, I just do.  I don’t think much but rather when an idea comes, I jump in and get it done.  For example, see this great music video below. I was sent it and immediately saw its potential as content for language learning.  So I got busy and “just did it”, subtitled it. I didn’t think how nice it would be to have it subtitled. And in a nutshell,  that’s how I get things done – and it all is a question of endurance.

The photo is with running ed whitlockone of my heroes, Ed Whitlock.  Ed spends his latter years, every day, running for 3 hours around his local cemetery. Same pace, same direction, every day.  He’s “being there”.  That’s how he’s set amazing world records (the oldest man to run a sub. 3 hour marathon. 2:54 min. at the age of 74 – I cheered him the whole way!). That’s how he gets things done.

And now to my point, the point of this personal post.

It is all about being constant, enduring. Great teachers endure. They do the same things over and over again. They learn to do them well.  Yes, we hear a lot about innovation, creativity etc…. but this should be on top of the base – that everyday, grunting and getting the work done – “bringing home the bacon that is learning”. And so too with language learning and our students – it is all about “endurance”.

It isn’t easy to “endure” but it is easier if you can find a way to “just do it”.  Flow and “be there”. Not anywhere else.  Keep doing, day in and day out and you’ll soon have accomplished so much. If as Nietzsche said, “genius is a question of endurance”, so to is teaching. You were born to be a star, an enduring superstar.


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ddeubel

Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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6 Responses

  1. Joan Wink says:

    After more than 40 years in the classroom, your question of endurance is one that I’ve thought about a lot. I think the trick is not just to last–but to last with love, passion, joy, and an abiding interest in learning more.

    Joan-an-incurable-eduholic-Wink, who is happily now failing retirement.

  2. David says:

    Joan,

    Your post hits home and you raise a fantastic point. It isn’t all roses – for every benefit there is always a resulting cost.

    I’ve been having more time away from the class/students (just teaching online and consulting). But still, I find myself as busy as ever….. Salmon Rushdie said wisely once, “our lives teach us who we are”. I’ll have to think about that and your comment. Do I want to fail retirement like you? Maybe…. Maybe not….

  3. Tefl Jobs says:

    I agree with Joan. Endurance comes from being passionate about your work, having a desire to keep improving and having a responsibility towards doing the best for your students.

    Jon.

  4. ddeubel says:

    TEFL – totally agree. I think at root, it comes from a more “vocation” oriented teaching philosophy too. (as opposed to one seeing teaching as just a job that you can change as you need).

  5. Caitlin says:

    Well said.

    I’m in the second year of my ‘vocation’ and although I’m loving every bit, I’m constantly worried about work/life balance. Whenever I change something, it means I begin failing the other.

    I’ve thought a lot about this as I don’t want to burn out and leave teaching. Is there ever an answer or do I endure and hope it all works out?

    Caitlin

  6. David says:

    Caitlin,

    There is no instant, complete fix, just eternal vigilance and reflection. Find your space and place – the things that allow you to keep positive energy flowing (and they aren’t all teacher related). The art of the personal is not easy. I’ve gained a lot from Carl Roger’s book – On Becoming A Person. He speaks indirectly to all these issues.

    David

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