Feeling lost and Being ‘proper’

It is Saturday morning and I had a one to one lesson already. I have a small pile of essays to mark and I want to make a PPT for my online business English class, I have agreed to a collab blog post but instead, I am  watching videos about makeup, listening to the best blind auditions on the Voice US. I am also looking at my planner and thinking how I will plan my next week,and by plan I mean decorate… with stickers.

I feel guilty. I have so many things to do and I am not doing them. I am also wondering about how ‘proper’ I am. I mean… I am a teacher. I have an MA, a Delta, I have spent time becoming a better qualified teacher and instead I am looking at stickers? I mean…. seriously?

I actually  often feel that I am not being ‘proper’, but then again, what is proper? What is ‘proper’ for a teacher? Should I be reading articles about how to improve my teaching? Should I be making new lessons, using my time more creatively and effectively? Should I be spending more time reading other teacher’s blog posts and try to find inspiration? I guess I should.

I then wonder about my interactions with my learners. Don’t get me wrong. I teach whatever is on the syllabus, but I do spend time talking about makeup or other random stuff with my learners and we actually have fun. But… I don’t think that’s professional or… have I created in my mind a sense of what I should be doing as a teacher? Am I trying to follow the invisible ‘bible’ to ‘teacher properness’? Are the things I am doing, taking away from my actual teaching, making me a bad teacher? Why do I feel guilty?

I was a workaholic and now I feel tired. Not ‘proper’.


Dunno guys. I feel lost.


7 thoughts on “Feeling lost and Being ‘proper’

  1. It’s all balance, isn’t it? If you only ever cover the syllabus, how are your learners going to know about how to go off on tangents? If you never change the subject, how will they get examples of how to do it?

    Still, stickers away, YouTube off. For ten minutes, anyway.


  2. I think I chose this job exactly because there is no ‘proper’. There’s only what you feel right and what’s right for your students. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Be you. That’s what makes you a great teacher. You are not anybody else. Stickers, make up and The Voice are part of what makes you you. This could also be your brain and body telling you to take a break. Doing that and coming back to it later will probably make you more productive anyway. You don’t need to measure up to what other people define as a proper teacher. Your students learn from you and they keep coming back. Oh, and this:
    http://phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1827 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely love the open honesty on your blog! Thank you!! I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling like this! I also struggle with the “proper” thing. I devote so much time to work and trying to be the best teacher I can be, sometimes too much and it’s really unhealthy. My partner wishes I could leave work at work, and definitely not do anything at the weekends, and sometimes I wish I could care slightly less about being ‘proper’, about what courses and qualifications to do next, about how I could maybe get into publishing materials, etc. so that I have “proof” of being a Proper academic or teacher. But as was said above, it’s definitely about the balance! And every day the best we can do is try to get the balance right. What I can recommend is https://clareseltcompendium.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/do-one-thing-every-day-thats-not-work/ #OneThingELT


  5. It was the weekend! It’s good to have a clear to-do-list but it’s also good to relax and do things that you enjoy. Otherwise you will have no energy when it’s time to work again.
    If you can connect with your learners, have fun with them and incorporate things into the lessons to which they relate and which get them talking, this will benefit them in so many ways (both linguistically and in terms of improved confidence, motivation for the lessons etc.)


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