“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
Emily Dickinson, “‘Hope’ is the Thing with Feathers” from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson. Copyright 1945, 1951, 8 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Reprinted with the permission of The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Focus on what will stick.
Teaching overseas is a serious challenge. There are hazards of all kinds. With that said, it is truly a delightful endeavor filled with meaning. If you are new to the international teaching scene, I welcome you. If you are like me, a seasoned educator, welcome back. I sincerely hope that you create meaning with your students.
In this post, if I can give all one piece of advice it would be to focus on what will stick. In this I mean, focus your energies on being truly present each moment you are working with your students. That means you prepare. That means you are fully aware of the questions being asked. That means you are quiet in both mind and soul.
Kids are kids. All want to learn, explore, and challenge. All want to feel safe and secure. All want to free themselves to learn. Help them. No matter the age, each kid wants to please their teacher. Give them one hundred ways. Make them aware of their world. Teach empathy. Never use sarcasm.
Plan for success. My colleagues and I rave that we are essentially planned for the entire year already. I am confident that we will be able to effectively deliver the curriculum. I tell teachers that August is where we make our money. That means the effective teacher must spend the time making key preparations. That means coming into school on weekends. That means staying late. That means finding shortcuts for frivolous tasks. That means building systems in your workspace.
Guide your students by making them aware of the joys of learning. Praise student successes and appreciate failure as a step in the learning process. Be overly polite and be ready to change tactics.
Trust your teammates to the nth degree. I cannot over emphasize building trust with your team. Most of my energies so far this year has been to create a trusting relationship with my newest teammates. This will pay off in spades, in the future.
Be honest with your students’ parents. Find out how you can help and deliver. Your student is their world. Make sure that your parents know that you understand this fact.
Read poetry. Collect your favorites. The poets have experienced every aspect of the human condition and they convey each aspect so much better.
Stay ever hopeful. I hope YOU have an amazing year.
Bon chance. Stay ever hopeful.