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Jennifer Burke-Hansen

English Teacher, Instructional Coach, 

Star Wars fan

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From disenchanted to reEnchanted teacher... 

I've been a teacher for 25+ years! And honestly, I love teaching and am often truly enchanted with my work!

 

As a high school English teacher (in the Danish school system), my overall goal is to enlighten my students so that they will feel empowered to achieve their goals in life. And make sure that they improve their English skills and leave my class being able to express themselves in English better than when they started.

 

On average, I think I reach that goal more often than not. 

However, it has not always been an enchanting journey. I have experienced moments, bouts, and extended periods of disenchantment. What? Yes!  It's true. 

At one point, I was truly ready to pack up my school bag with my pencil case, notebooks, all of my years of teaching and toss it out! There was little joy to be found in everything that had been joyful for so long. I found myself completely disenchanted with my subjects, topics, lessons, my schedule, and even with my students!

But nobody knew. I kept my professionalism in tact, my teacher-face on, did the work, graded the papers, held the exams, particpated in meetings - I did it all! And felt disenchantingly discontent. 

 

I even searched the want-ads for anything that I could apply for. There was nothing that I was qualified to do except teach English. I was disenchantedly disillusioned.

There were, of course, occassional sparks of joy - that's what happens when you work with good people and have good students. But the few sparks that did occur were not enough to re-light the fires, or  pave the way for reenchantment. I was disenchantedly dimmed.

 

So, a few years ago,  I got sick and tired of being sick and tired! I decided to do something - anything - lots of things - to combat the overwhelm, chaos, tiredness - the whole disenchanted feeling. And. I have spent the past couple of years figuring out how to become reEnchanted with my teaching and stay that way. 

Do I still have moments of disenchantment ? Yes - of course! 

 

The good thing is that NOW the moments are few and far between. The causes of  disenchantment are easier to recognize, and I've found techniques and skills to "flip" disenchantment to reEnchantment.

 

And the best thing is that I am becoming reEnchanted all the time! I am constantly amazed by how new and old things alike can spark a feeling of reEnchantment that keeps the fires burning. 

I've put everything I've learned into a journey that I'm going to take for a test-drive, so I can continue to stay enchanted with my teaching. And I invite any and all teachers to follow along! 

Because, we all know: when teachers are enchanted with their teaching, students become enchanted with their learning! 

Oh - and I always follow the advice of Master Yoda: 

"Do or do not do, there is no try." 

PS - If you're an English teacher and would like some enchanting English tips, I've got those too!