Thursday, March 4, 2010

Those posters


I bought a couple of English posters for my "English Only" classroom while I was in Calgary last month. I headed into Scholar's Choice and was looking for anything really to add a little something to my classroom walls.

I'm not ordinarily a fan of the classic motivational posters that were once the rage in the modern office setting, though I am a fan of stuff like the poster above.

Being an ESL teacher, I am also a fan of posters that use simple language to state a sometimes complex theme. In addition to a poster that tells my students to turn their cell-phones off, and another that suggests 10 ways to keep trying in a manner not unlike the rules to Fight Club, I picked-up a couple that, while admittedly cheesy to you or I, somehow fit perfectly in my classroom.

One shows a young lad in sepia tones in a ballpark with a sideways cap carrying a baseball glove and bat slung over his shoulder - hobo-style. It reads: "The expert in anything was once a beginner." Very true, and fitting for those faced with learning a new language.

The second reads: "You can always be a better person today than the one you were yesterday."

Turns out that I was a better person today than I was yesterday. Although I prefer the less egocentric way and would say that I had a better day today than I did yesterday. All it really took was for my co-workers to recover from the madness of the first couple of days back at school to answer a couple of key questions I had about my schedule and the classes I am to teach this year.

My job is simple enough if I find a simple way to lay out the big picture. Last year, far more time than I care to recall was wasted on stress-causing wheel reinvention and most of it was my doing. I also have a tendency to fight myself and (to a lesser extent) others in an attempt to turn my roll here into something it was never meant to be, and never will be. It's time to take a step back, look at the semester as a whole, and make smarter choices.

Today was a marked difference from my first two days back, in that I feel like I've got a legitimate plan, my co-workers answered the call to be in on the plan, and this is really a hell of a lot easier than I made it out to be. I'm sure I'll have frustrations in the near future with this job, but for now, I foresee a semester of not taking my work home with me. It's all about placing your efforts where the desired result is actually attainable. Having a year under my belt helps me figure-out the difference.

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