Make space for the positive

IMG_20160807_124643It was the first week in August. We were on holiday, strolling happily around a gorgeous lake in the south of Moravia when my husband suddenly asked: When exactly do you start work this year?  I remember my inward reaction; I was shocked surprised that he felt like talking about school (he’s an educator too) in such a beautiful, carefree moment. I couldn’t understand the fact that school had come to his mind at all. I think I even panicked a little. I answered hurriedly and then my gaze fell on the lovely water surface, the wild ducks and all the lush greenery again. Work. Something so distant. A different life. Another dimension….

The thought that my husband’s question had made me feel so frustrated was even more disturbing that the feeling itself. This is the way mind likes torturing us. It creates negative feelings, which it then wants to push away, but it actually does more harm than good doing so.

Fast forward to the present moment. I start work in two days. I think it was about a week ago – when it cooled down a little and I started bumping into my students here and there – that I could again feel the pleasant tickling that I feel each year around this time. I hadn’t done anything in particular to bring this emotion about. It just came to me; the way it had been coming for years. And I was really happy because at one point I feared that I had lost some of my enthusiasm and love for teaching. But apparently, I’m back in the saddle. So, I guess, everything comes at the right time and when the time comes, it’s good to make space for the positive.

I’m well aware of the fact that many of our students feel the same way, possibly even worse. I wonder whether they get back in the saddle as quickly as we teachers do or whether the period of frustration goes on a little longer. I suspect the latter is true. 🙂 Anyway, I think I’ll definitely show a little more compassion for their initial lack of enthusiasm this year.

Do you sometimes have similar feelings during the summer holidays?  How do you deal with them?




About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for more than 20 years. I love metaphors and inspiring discussions concerning teaching, learning and linguistics.
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4 Responses to Make space for the positive

  1. Great question, Hana. For me, the beginning of the school year always bring mixed emotions – excitement and anticipation as well as worry and stress. For many years I felt “guilty” about the negative feelings – it had to do a lot I think with this false belief many of us have that if we love what we do, how on earth can we experience such emotions? I’ve realized that just like with everything else in life emotions can’t be controlled – they can be observed, embraced and seen as useful life lessons. Besides, teaching is one of those few jobs I think when your job isn’t simply a job 🙂 Another thing which has helped me a lot with both the positive and negative emotions (when I get excited I get super excited, you see:) is to lower my emotional expectations for the first month of teaching or so – by that I mean that I now consciously choose to respect my students’ initial lack of enthusiasm and go with the flow instead of imposing my “Doesn’t it feel great to be back?” attitude on them. I take some steps back so that they can make more steps forward and we can meet in the middle 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Marc says:

    I always find it hard to go back after the summer: it’s not the start of the academic year so my students basically know me and a lot would have preferred an even longer break. I teach English as a gatekeeper subject and for a lot of my students it’s ‘weird foreign listening and reading them talking’. That said, I have a lovely cohort of students this year and most have a generally positive view of English, though would rather have mindless clause translation rather than speaking to one another.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel the same way, Hana! I freak out when there’s only a week more before school starts again. I kinda hang out with close friends back home more because I know I won’t be seeing them for a whole year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chrysa says:

    Most of us are confronted with a mixture of emotions, Hana, as summer holidays draw to an end. It’s only human, I think. We started classes this Tuesday and high temperatures and humidity levels did not help much our adjustment. Once the weather gets cooler, it will be better. Hope you have a full and rewarding school year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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