Barking up the wrong tree

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I’ve learned yet another life lesson having just turned 44 a couple of weeks ago. This lesson is not related to age but falls more so into the “barking up the wrong tree” category. Let me elaborate…

“I’ve been pushing too hard on a couple of fronts and wish to repent”

Starting my MA TEFL last April (2006) was a long overdue idea that floated in and out of my mind for years. When I finally got going on it I was overwhelmed with energy, ideas and opinions. Since a few years back, I had thought that I had pretty much figured out this teaching gig through a combination of time, common sense, and an abundance of sheer trial and error. Moreover, this feeling was consistently reinforced through positive feedback from students and fellow teachers. However, after only a few months into the MA program I began to realize how little I actually knew, especially in comparison to how much more there was to be known. This triggered the little evangelist inside of me, and at about the same time my innate ability to see the huge potential in people and situations also kicked in.

I guess I’ve selfishly been searching for a “nakama” (inner-circle). I have found one in my MA study group and I wanted to re-create the power and support of that group in a professional type inner circle. I pictured like-minded JSHS teachers all eager to see what else there was in terms of stretching themselves and their students to new limits in learning English. I have new ideas almost everyday and for me the fun would be in trying new things in collaboration with others. Doing it on my own doesn’t give me near the rush that doing it with others does (loaded sentence, in a freudian way, huh!).
A general list of ideas that won’t go away, includes:

  1. Classroom research – “yaruki” points, effort journal, dictogloss, motivational ideas, 10-minute writing, Use of L1 in the L2 classroom, Nations 4 strands,
  2. Curriculum development – How much TBL can Japan handle? developing EFL HS writing class curriculum, textbook-free curriculums
  3. Collaborative projects – Extensive Reading experiments, developing learner autonomy,
  4. Publishing – JSHS EFL in Japan related, Redefining the value of experienced, well-trained NTs vs. the ‘backpacking’ garden variety of AETs
  5. Action Research – problem solving, error correction
  6. Collaborative blogging – documenting the work of the “inner circle”
  7. Professional friendships – sharing the foreign NT experience

The categories are pretty complete but the ideas within are just some of what comes to mind at the moment.

I have tried to express my enthusiasm and have probably over-expressed myself (again?) therefore I’ve decided to stop pushing, especially the JSHS group and the Bham MASH idea. I’ll focus on the immediate things that are already in progress and just hope that these seeds may take root at some time in the future.

I’m still completely open to a variety of collaborative efforts, however, I’m going to instigate less.

I apologize if I’ve been overbearing to anyone and no hard feelings on my part.

Cheers,

Steve

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