Have you used metaphors to help you understand?


Try the kaleidoscope metaphor.

When you sense it spinning fast, see it as a message to take time for yourself. Begin to take deep breaths, enjoy a quiet meal, a movie, or a conversation with a friend. Step back to realize you are a young teacher who is in it for the long haul, who knows she can become better and better—and will.

As the tumbling slows, become alert. Look for possibilities as to how to shift gears, to make changes, to discover new paths. Recognize the kaleidoscope as a reflection of your mind and heart as it sorts and clarifies. Sometimes it feels like a mentor. The more open you are the more the kaleidoscope will speak to you.

When the pieces become still, pay close attention to their arrangement. Take advantage of what you are seeing and take time to reflect. Write in your journal; write a letter to yourself or to a colleague; talk into a voice recorder; call a friend or relative. Whatever works for you, take that time. You will solidify your newfound insights and make them part of your practice. After all, we become what we practice.

When overwhelmed or confused, engage in this metaphor


For more on this crucial issue see Chapter 18 “Take the Long View” in Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting Students to Learn from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Middle-Room-Frank-Thoms/dp/0615358918.