Re-thinking learning for the 21st Century

When Ignorance is Bliss

Throughout the summer, I saw a few variations of the tweet, “This coming September, we are all first-year teachers.” I love the sentiment behind this. We are all entering education faced with challenges not one of us has managed before.

Yet, when school year started, and I was back in the classroom, I couldn’t shake the pressure I felt. I have been constantly asking myself questions like:

“Am I prioritizing the right curriculum?”

“Are my remote learners feeling connected? Am I giving them enough attention?”

“Will my students be ready for high school?”

etc etc etc

Last week, I saw this tweet, and it captured how I have been feeling perfectly.

Teaching is strenuous when we are always feeling, “If I could only ______”.  As experienced educators, we no longer have that early teaching blissful ignorance.

My students and I are finding a groove that works for us, and I have to trust that it’s enough. I have to have faith in the fact that I’m not a novice teacher, and that I can use my experience to make the right choices for my students with the circumstances I am given.

Jenn

7 Comments

  1. Jennifer Weening

    Oh my goodness, Jen, this is so true! I think I saw that same tweet and had the same reaction. Your perspective is so valuable and appreciated, and your final thought is dead on — although as experienced teachers we might know how to do things better in better circumstances, at least we can trust our experience, professionalism, and judgment to make the best of these particular circumstances!
    – Jen

    • Jennifer Bairos

      Thanks, Jen! It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in this feeling. Trusting my judgement is a huge challenge for me…that’s a whole other blog post!

  2. Allison Campbell-Rogers

    This is a perfect post to kick off the 2020-2021 school year Jen. It’s where we are all at I’d hazard a guess – the beginning… again. But you know what’s really important at the beginning? Relationships. Stitching together the fabric of a classroom so that it is strong enough to hold what it will need to hold as we make our way through this crazy year. So, yes – have faith in your experience, the beautiful thing about it is that you’ve got the beginning covered hands down – I have never been in your classroom, but I just know that your kindness, warmth and welcoming nature will provide everything your students need at the beginning. The curriculum, the approaches the preparedness … it will all come in time as you and your students find your groove – and it will be enough. Thanks for sharing what many of us are feeling … ps – I saw that tweet too!!

    • Jennifer Bairos

      Thank you Allison. I appreciate your encouragement! I really needed to hear this today 🙂

      I have noticed that whenever I begin feeling panicky in my teaching, it’s because I can also notice that I’ve been pushing curriculum and not keeping relationships as the centre of my day. This is definitely when I have to allow myself to take a step back and slow things dawn. Giving myself (and my students) this permission, is the hard part because sometimes the pressure feels difficult to ignore.

  3. Esther Lee

    Hi Jenn, you’re so right in that you have to trust that what you’re doing is enough, and it is! I think right now, perfectionism is the enemy of progress. And if I know teachers, 99% of us suffer from the paralysis through analysis syndrome haha! So, this is a message I think we all really needed to hear. Thank you for this!

    • Jennifer Bairos

      I saw another tweet once that said “Enough is a decision, not an amount.” and I think that is an important piece for us to remember along the same path!

  4. Brandon Black

    Great sentiments, Jenn! This year more than ever we need to embrace the imperfections. That’s not to say that we should accept mediocrity, but it is to understand the circumstances that we are living in. You mentioned ‘finding a groove’ with your students, and I can bet that they are appreciative of having you as their teacher to lead them through this uniquely challenging year.

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