Click above to listen to this podcast episode. Below is the transcript for Student-Centered World Podcast Episode 31: “Handling what you Can’t Control“
Hey, everyone, welcome to another week of the Student-Centered World podcast where this week, it might be a little bit heavy. But it was something that I really wanted to get out to everybody. As teachers, we like to have “teacher control”. We like to know what’s happening. We like to know what the plan is a long-distance, and we like to execute that plan the way that it works in our head.
But right now, we’re having a really tough time keeping teacher control and we’re having a really tough time dealing with that. So, I wanted to take some time today to chat about what you can do when you just can’t control things.
Welcome to the Student-Centered World podcast where we talk about all things hands-on teaching and keeping your energy and sanity in the classroom. This teacher turned consultant is making it her mission to help as many teachers as possible become the best version of themselves and keep their passion for teaching on fire. It’s her hope that we never forget why we desire to have a passion for educational progress. This is Student-Centered World, and this is Jenn Breisacher.
Hey guys, so today’s message, I had something else planned a little bit but just sort of the day that I’m having, I feel like this is the conversation that we need to have today. It might hit some of you in the fields. So, prepare yourself.
We are living in a time right now where we are in a constant state of uncontrollability. I don’t even know if that’s a word. But today it is. We have no idea what is going to happen from one moment to the next. As teachers, I feel like a lot of us are having the biggest problem with that.
I’m not saying that we’re control freaks. I just realized that’s what I made it sound… I mean, some of us are but it’s really, really hard when you know that you have other lives depending on you to not have a clue what is going to happen tomorrow to determine what your plan is going to be and having a grip on that teacher control. So, I’ve been saying all along, like for months and months now that you can only do what you can do, teacher control or not. There’s just no other way of looking at it than that.
If you can sit down in the evening and hang your hat on your day and say that you did the best that you could even if you felt like you came up short then that’s all that you can do. All that we can do right now is be as prepared as we possibly can be and know that no matter what we do it might not be enough. It might change at a moment’s notice and we might lose that teacher control or it might just drag on us mentally, or physically.
At any given point what we are planning to do might not matter, it might switch. Obviously, as I’ve been saying every single day, that’s one of the reasons that you must prepare for blended learning because you can do it in the classroom, you can do it if you’re hybrid, you can do it if you are 100% digital. You can’t do 100% digital in the classroom without making sure you have this and that and you can’t do the stuff that you do in the classroom digitally. We found that out in the spring when we all felt that we lost teacher control.
So, it’s the best way that you can be prepared because you might have to tweak things here and there, but you can still roll with it and have a sense of teacher control.
I had mentioned before, the teachers that I had worked with prior to the pandemic said that doing distance learning was not a difficult transition for them because they just made a couple of tweaks and it was almost business as usual for their classes. Their kids were already, I’d hate to say for lack of a better word trained but you know how it is. They knew what they needed to do, and they were just doing it in a different venue.
So, it’s something to keep in mind. As for me, I woke up in my own head today which I have a feeling is something that is probably happening to a lot of you. I’ve been talking over and over again if you haven’t been following me for a long time when the pandemic first started in March, I created our mastermind group on Facebook and we just dove head in on what can we train each other on, what apps can we use? What programs can we have?
We created this community to try to help with teacher control and to get through the school year together. Then once I developed the blended learning series, which is more apt for what Student-Centered World does, we kept transitioning with that.
So, I’ve been working seven days a week since March. I’ve taken off a couple of days here and there but that’s it.
As you know, if you’re a parent, that’s hard, and I have been preaching all this time off, “oh, we have these silver linings of everybody’s going to… We’re able to slow down and we’re not living the rat race of running from here to there”, which is true. But this morning, I woke up thinking I’ve been working all this time, and I had this opportunity to be with my kids. Though I was I was still working so much and got into my own head with that.
You go down these rabbit holes so it’s just it’s a lot of things all at once. Even though it’s not necessarily what you guys are going to be grappling with within the classroom with your students and teacher control, it’s still a rabbit hole that if you hadn’t fallen down yet, you might and that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay, right now, you just need to know that you’re doing the best that you can. If some days that’s just making it through, that’s okay.
If it means that you need to veer from your curriculum for a little bit because you need to work a little bit more with your kids on some SEL that’s okay.
We are in a time where we need to just make sure that everybody’s okay and to do the best that we can. That’s all we can do is the best that we can. So, if you get lost in your own thoughts in your own head, and you start panicking and all that, I feel like it’s natural right now because as teachers, we have this, I don’t want to say teacher control issues. I keep coming to that but don’t take it as that but we’re planners and we know that on Friday, we’re going to be doing this, this, and this.
Next week, we’re scheduled to do this, this, and this, and knowing that all of that can change like that and we will lose teacher control is scary and it’s a lot and it’s okay if you’re struggling with that. You can’t bury your head in the sand. You can’t pretend it’s not happening, but you need to make sure that you’re taking care of your mental health and that you are just preparing the best that you can and that you are just doing the best that you can with what you have.
There’s really nothing else to add to that. You’re going to have some days that seem like they’re great and you’re going to have some days that seem like they’re not. If you have a bad day, tomorrow is a new one. Your worth as a teacher is not going to be determined on a couple of bad days. It’s going to be how you rally back from those days, how you think outside the box, how you find ways to cope and to manage and to make it work.
It’s those times that are going to show who you are as a teacher, and that you are able to come forward from that and you are able to grow and to learn. We can’t teach our children that it’s okay to fail if they’re learning from it if we don’t embrace that ourselves.
So, that is the message that I want to leave you with today. I told you it was kind of heavy. I apologize for that, but I feel like it was a message from the universe to get that out to you today. So, if you were a person that needed to hear that, hopefully, that helped. If you haven’t needed to hear that yet you can always come back to this on a day where you do. So, on that note enjoy the rest of your day.
Enjoy the rest of your week.
Teacher Control and the 4 Keys
One of the best ways to learn where teacher control ends and student-led business begins is by creating a plan for your classroom that embraces it all. While this sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be. It just needs to ebb and flow with the students and where they are (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Being flexible is the key to making all of this work. The key is engagement. There are four keys to student engagement that I discuss in my video training challenge that releases twice per year. It is called “Finding Your Student Engagement Formula” and it walks you through those four keys and how to implement them in the classroom.
If you are interested in registering (it’s totally free), visit the Finding Your Student Engagement Formula Challenge registration page and you will be notified the next time the series is available.