Do You Really Care about Human Beings?

Nothing is as important as human beings. Not ideas, not subjects, not institutions, not goals, not lessons, not information, nothing. This hit me harder than usual in the past week during some fraught threads on social media. I realized that I was drawn to some views more than others not just because of the overall […]

Introducing: Tuned-In Teacher Mantras

Both during my summer travels and in online teacher communities a recent pattern has stood out: anxiety for the new school year, often in spite of—or perhaps because of—extensive prior experience. Others experiencing anxiety are new to the profession or, like you, are boldly trying new ways of teaching. I identify so strongly with this […]

Four Things to be Relentless about in 2019

A year is a bit like a class session: You plan some things before it starts, but only in the thick of it do you see what you really need to do. So, yes, I do have a classic resolution: to visit the dentist in 2019. (Don’t chortle through your splendent teeth—this is a serious […]

Cut Yourself Some Slack. Actually, Tons of Slack.

Feeling guilty watching screaming goat videos instead of working? Cut yourself some tons of slack. Haven’t exercised since summer? Cut yourself some tons of slack. No time to write “good enough” replies to the emails stacking up in your inbox? Cut yourself some tons of slack. Did something for no good reason? Cut yourself some […]

That Thing You Used to Do (#EdMarchSanity 3)

March is over, but, like March Madness, #EdMarchSanity continues into April! A simple way to refresh your classes without needing to learn or do a bunch of new stuff is to dust off a task or routine that you haven’t done in a while. This may seem obvious, but I’m amazed when I think of […]

Energy from a New Pastime (#EdMarchSanity 2)

Not half an hour ago, an online student of mine remarked, “Isn’t it amazing how invigorating even the idea of starting a new book is?” The comment confirmed my plan for this second installment of #EdMarchSanity. (Here is the first, featuring eight zero prep activities.) This advice is paradoxical, but, if you want a major […]

Can You Cut One Thing?

February finds many of us in a long, gapless stretch of work that ranges from humdrum to harrowing. New Year’s resolutions to work smarter or spend more time with family or hone a hobby are buried by snowpack, and we retreat into ourselves or suffer panic or just put our heads down to make it to […]

The Importance of the Next Thing

No, this isn’t about tech trends or teaching fads. It’s a confession and a simple solution. Confession: My reading-and-listening habit in one of my target languages almost disappeared this winter. Why? Because I hadn’t lined up the Next Thing.   The Next Thing The Next Thing is the resource you plan to use just as […]

Guided Meditation in the TL

Sometimes I use guided meditation to relax or to help me fall asleep. Because I enjoy it and in order to get a bit more out of life, I usually listen in a language other than English. (My wife recently said to me that the fact that I use even sleep meditation to get more input […]

Same Conversation (Notes from Italy, pt. 3)

Note: This is part 3 of a summer series with notes on learning and interacting in another language. The series is inspired by my Italian interactions, but can apply to any language! See part 1 for two stories illustrating the goodness that comes from interacting with people in their own language and part 2 for […]