S2:E1- Teaching Unmasked: Navigating Authenticity and Impostor Syndrome

brain breaks podcast Jan 25, 2024

Unplugged, unscripted, authentically tackling imposter syndrome and challenging YOU to  teach as your AUTHENTIC, RAW, GENIUS, MAGICAL self! Thank you for being here and tuning in to Episode 1 of Season 2 of Teaching La Vida Loca the Podcast!

Here are the people, places, and things mentioned in this episode:
CI DownUnder
Bu Cathy
Bu Anne
Adriana Ramírez and Margarita Peréz García's Podcast
Stations Blog
Stations Podcast
Station Expectations Freebie Resource
Class Jobs Course with John Sifert
La Familia Loca PLC - Join the Waitlist!

Let's connect!

My Blog
My YouTube
My Instagram
My Website
My TPT store


Welcome back! 

Welcome back to my podcast teaching la vida loca for season two. I'm Annabelle your Maestra loca, and I am ready to kick off season two with even more enthusiasm, magic, and tips and tricks for your classroom. Get set for a ride of inspiration, unapologetic authenticity, and ideas to spark more joy in your teaching journey. I'm turning up the excitement and elated to have you right here with me. I'm not just your host and your cheerleader, and I am thrilled you're tuning in, buckle up, and let's do this. Let's tackle teaching la vida loca together.

New Intro, New Season  

How about that new intro? Ha, I recorded it when I was like, in hyper focus mode a couple of weeks ago, I was like, I'm going to record the new intro to my podcast. I know, I don't even know what the first episode is going to be about. But it's gonna be great. And here I am. I was like, let me log in. Oh, look, I already have a new intro. Super. Just listen to it for the first time, literally just now just after you. And I'm just rolling into this first recording, this first episode of season two, literally not sure where I'm going. And I've sat here the last 15 minutes. I know what I want to talk about. But I've been sitting here trying to think like, how can I add value? How can I add value? How can I add value? And then probably realizing that what I want to talk about is valuable enough. But now that I've heard that intro, I feel like I need to turn it up a level. Like whoa, that's a spicy intro. Like so exciting. Okay, let's hope that this sounds good. Should I test it? Should I test the sound? No, let's just keep going. It's gonna be great. Right? Like, right, surely. Okay, I did go and check because I was too nervous because this is the first time, I'm using this mic.

Being You! 

So, I really, really want to talk to you today about authenticity and the importance of you being you no matter what. And I was thinking about recording this before my trip to Australia. I was recently invited, oh my god, to my first international conference. I went to Australia to the conference called CI down under. I was invited by Kathy, Bu Kathy and Bu Anne. Anne used to teach Indonesian, and then she taught Spanish for years. Bu Cathy teaches Indonesian in Sydney. And I had the wonderful pleasure of joining about 37 Australian educators in Sydney and talking about World Language pedagogy all week and best practices. And it was really one of the best conferences I've ever attended. Just because of the gratitude and joy and energy that I found there. I also got to meet Margarita Peréz García', who has a podcast with Adriana Ramírez. And I felt very grateful for that opportunity to connect with her, bond with her, kind of adopted her as another mama. And she has adopted me and I feel very grateful for that.

While in Australia…  

But after going to Australia, it was even more solidified. And even more important that I record this episode for you. Because all too often teachers in general struggle with impostor syndrome. I mean, people struggle with it in general. But teachers go through impostor syndrome in a major way, because of the access to social media and access to readily, like feel like you're in somebody else's classroom at any given moment, because you have access and windows into people's classrooms all over the world, through social. And so, impostor syndrome in teachers has never been worse, really. Because we are seeing these beautiful bulletin boards. And we're seeing these amazing lessons, and we're seeing these activities. And sometimes you get to see them with kids. But sometimes it's just teachers explaining the activities. And sometimes it's just the resource itself. Sometimes, it's teachers who are making resources who haven't taught in the classroom for years. And you just don't know what it might look like with their students. And if you are seeing it with students, you're then thinking, oh, God, I don't think I'm good enough for that or that my students would do that. And it's immediately in your head about the way it would look for you or feel for you. Right? And a lot of self-doubt. And honestly, I think that there's so many, so many factors to this. One being that we need to remember that people are only showing you their favorite things, the things that go well. Activities that don't work in my classroom, I'm not really talking about y'all. Like I don't want to share about those, things that flop. I don't want to share those. The days that are like, bomb like, terrible rollercoaster crashes, I share about those with La Familia Loca, PLC because sometimes I just need to vent or cry about a day. But I'm not sharing those activities in a hope that somebody wants to take it on, right? I want to share things that are working for me, things that I'm finding success with, well my expectation of my hope is that you take the idea that I share, and then make it your own, put your own twist on it, put that authentic piece that makes you "you", that twist into the lesson or into the idea. Because if you're trying to emulate me, or any educator that you see online or at a conference, when you're implementing these things, you are not going to find success, because you're so focused on being somebody else in your implementation. Students will smell it. Students will see right through it. And students also deserve an authentic representation of you as well because you are modeling for them the importance of growing up and being proud of who they are and being authentically themselves all the time.

Be Yourself! 

Now, this isn't always easy. I have a lot of people who don't like me, in the world language teaching world, I have a lot of people who have reached out very vocally to tell me this. I've had people for the last nine years, reach out and tell me that I need to be more professional in the way that I act and the way that I interact with people. And that the way I write my blogs is off putting and, frankly, not helpful to teachers, because of the way that I write or because of the language I use. I had somebody call me out publicly in a Facebook group. And I remember this very clearly, in 2016, saying nobody wants to hear about your bodily functions Annabelle, act professionally, you are you're growing a following. And I was so devastated and embarrassed and humiliated by the comment. Because it was somebody huge and respected in the world language teaching community. They were calling me out in a huge Facebook group. And all I had said was I am so stinking excited for this, I could pee. And then I was like, oh my god, so embarrassed, so embarrassed. I didn't delete my comment. But I stopped posting in that group. And I still post very rarely in that group because I was so embarrassed, I felt so humiliated. But I didn't stop saying oh my gosh, I'm so excited, I could pee. I didn't stop writing my blogs the same way. I haven't stopped acting the way I act or speaking the way I speak or doing the things that I do the way that I do them because it's just who I am. And ever since I've been learning more about my brain, and I was diagnosed with ADHD last year, it's been even more eye opening. And I've had like a billion Aha moments in the last year of like, oh, that is the reason why I do this. This is the reason why I do this. And I'm celebrating my brain more and more instead of hating and resenting the way that I am. Because I have had lots of struggles with that too. But in Australia, I had three, not one, not two, not no, yes, three, sorry, not one, not two, but three conversations with people who felt compelled to share with me. One was on the second day, one was on the fourth day, and one was on the final day that they, prior to meeting me at this conference, really did not feel like they could learn from me. We’re not following me because I was off putting to them, that I felt fake and forced. I felt, first, I want to say that I feel so grateful for these people coming forward and like having these vulnerable, very serious conversations with me. And they wanted to tell me like I'm so sorry for like, not seeing the real you and seeing the authenticity behind who you are. You're so real. You are genuinely that excited and that passionate about things. You are genuinely crazy about things but in a really good way. It's your passion. It's your enthusiasm, it's who you are.

Sometimes Scary…  

So, sometimes it's scary and it's overwhelming to be you. Especially if you are feeling like you know, people may take it the wrong way, or you may rub people the wrong way. But if you abandon who you truly are to fit inside somebody else's box, you're living your life for other people don't do it, it's not worth it. And don't be that model for kiddos. This has been a 10-minute episode so far, and I really wanted to share something that I think is gonna be super valuable for you, too.

I promise to… 

So, who knows what this first episode is gonna be called? I don't even know. But it does ring true to the piece of this podcast, that I promise to always be authentic. And so, I think it is a good way to start off season two, unscripted, as usual, came in, like, I'm going to talk about authenticity. And boom, there you go. There's my spiel. But I want to wrap up this section just by saying, you are so awesome. Just the way you are. I feel like singing a Mr. Rogers song right now. But you are magical, and you are so special, and you are impactful and freaking amazing. Just the way you are. So, I want you to maybe journal or write down a few things about yourself that people admire and respect and are grateful for, people who matter. Like what are those qualities that make you authentically you? And if you feel like it, email me those things, because I'd love to hear what makes you authentically you. And if you don't feel like it, that's okay. But keep it for yourself and remind yourself that these are the reasons why I am awesome and why I am so special and why I am so unique and so different from anybody else. Remind yourself of that frequently. Okay. Okay, next thing. Oh, should we do a brain break.

New Brain Break 

I felt like that's an important transition to have. Okay, I can't believe I haven't shared this brain break on this podcast yet. Like that seems insane to me. Because as the Queen of brain breaks as I have been called before, thank you so much. My go-to brain break, if I don't have a poster up in my room is uno dos dale which is 123 Go which is like rock paper scissors, shoot, right? So roshambo whatever you call it Rock Paper Scissors is my go-to. Now, my go to after that is alternate versions of rock paper scissors. So, my most frequent go-to if I don't have a poster is what I call Extreme Rock, paper, scissors, and all you do is play with your feet. So, feet together is rock you jump up and down. Uno, dos, dale, 123 Go. Or in German. So, whatever you want to say to make it not say Rock Paper, Scissors, but you do it with your feet. So, you jump up and uno, dos, dale. And when you land, if your feet are together, it's rock. If your feet are shoulder width apart, it's paper. And if you have one foot in from the other, it's scissors. Okay, so three different forms. And then kids just play with random people. You can tell them play with five people. Play with everybody wearing similar colors to you in the room. Play with people who are similar height to you. Play with people who you haven't spoken to yet today. Play with at least eight different people in this room. Play with everybody in the room. You can literally set it up however you want. But it gives them a great brain break. And it's very easy to remember. It's a good go-to. How have I not shared it on this podcast? Yes, I don't know. But apparently, I haven't because I have a little chart where I'm trying to track all the ones that I've shared. So, you're welcome. There you go. You're welcome.

It Can Be Exhausting  

And we're back. What I wanted to tell you about is one amazing thing to do for yourself. If you're coming in after a break, or you just need a break, we're getting to that time of the year where you're maybe feeling a little irritated sometimes. Maybe a little like I counting down to spring break yet? Is it too early? No, it's not too early, that's okay to feel those things. Or maybe you have jetlag, or you're just like, needing a second to not feel so on because many times if we are teaching with acquisition driven instruction, can you hear the airplane sorry, let me pause. So oftentimes, when we are teaching with acquisition, all the time, not many times, when you are teaching with acquisition driven instruction, it is more mentally, physically, and emotionally, even exhausting, than teaching with legacy methods. Like if I were to have a lot of worksheets that I could pull out, if I were to have a textbook to pull from, and I got to speak more English and didn't have to be really, really, intentional with the language that I was choosing. Yes, that's much less mentally and physically draining than what I am choosing to do with my students. However, I know that what I'm doing is going to help them acquire. I know what I am doing is going to feel more joyful for them and for me, and I know it's going to lead to proficiency faster, right. So, I'm choosing to do this. However, it is exhausting.

I Love Stations!  

One of the things you can do when you're feeling that way, is stations. Now, I have podcasted before about stations, and I'm going to link to that and link to the episode that connects to a blog about stations, which has a freebie resource for you to make stations super easy. It's my stations expectation sheet. I'll link to all of that in the podcast notes. But what stations can do is relieve you of some of the mental and emotional and physical burden. And the way I do stations is I do them for a whole weeklong. So it is a huge break in the routine and structure of our regular classes. But students love it because it feels so new and so different. These students had me last year. So, they came in and there were like stations because I only did it two times last year. And I make it a whole weeklong. They know that their stations expectation sheets at each station that explains what they're doing. They know at the start of class, they're gonna get a five-minute rundown of what the stations are for the day. But then if they totally forget, when they get to the station, they'll get a rundown on the paper of exactly what the activity is, exactly how many people can work in a group, whether the activity needs to be turned in or not, what their volume level, all those things. I'm not here to talk to you about stations today, I'll give you that resource in the stuff in the show notes. But what I am here to tell you about is if you have something to accomplish, that is going to take a lot of time. And you don't want to use your precious prep time to do that, because you don't have enough of it anyways. And you certainly don't want to stay too much longer after school than you already do. Hopefully, most of you leave at contract time. If you don't, let's work on that. And you certainly don't want to take any work home, right. So, if you have something that needs more time, my advice is stations, stations, stations. This week, I came back from Australia, I was like Holy freaking jetlag. This is not expected. I already kind of knew what I wanted to do. I had ditched all those plans and decided I'm going to do stations all week this week. And each day, I've done something a little bit different.

Station Benefits

Today I had a writing station where they were doing a writing test and I was way more involved in that station. But tomorrow, every single station is completely and totally student led like they will be able to work in partners, in groups, in pairs, or alone without my help. So, I can rotate, or I can sit and chill. And as they have questions, they can come to me. But all their questions should be answered on the station expectation sheet. So, it will allow me to sit back and look at their job applications because one of the things I had them do with stations was apply for new jobs because it's time to rotate our classroom jobs. If you don't know about classroom jobs, I have an entire course with John Sifert. John Sifert teaches high school. I now teach elementary, but I have taught middle for years and years. And we both in the course share everything we know about classroom jobs. So, I will link to that in the show notes as well. As well as an old podcast I did about classroom jobs. But y'all the ability for me to look over those job applications and start the process of assigning jobs is beautiful. And then guess what I'm doing tomorrow stations again. And one of the stations will be a sit-down table with maestra where I conference with kids and Say, hey, you applied for this job. That's a great job. I also think you'd be a good fit here. There were five people who applied for that job as their first choice. You listed two other jobs you'd be interested in. What do you think? Can we shift things around, have a conversation with kids, assign them their new job, and boom, I've done it all during class time? I haven't had to work outside my contract hours, I haven't had to take work home. And kids have still been getting input, and doing assignments that are just as rigorous, and intentional and fun as if I was leaving the class. It just feels and looks different. I also encourage you to still put in a brain break station, I talked about this in either the podcasts or the blog, I can't remember, just for a literal brain break in it. But you can also insert like a computer station in there where maybe you set up as classroom set of computers. I had a computer station today so that they could do their job applications. And I just set up 10 computers in a station because of my big, big classes. Well, I guess it was 13 computers in one station. But I needed to be able to have 13 rotating groups, not 13 rotating groups, three groups of 13. Does that make sense? One group had 12 or something like that. Anyways. So, I love stations, I think they're so powerful. They're even more powerful when you can do it several days in a row because they get into the habit and the pattern, and they know what to expect. They get familiar with that station expectation sheet. They know exactly where to look for what they're doing, what volume level they're at. And it allows you to take a week to get over your jetlag or have a break from like the mental exhaustion of what is teaching with acquisition driven instruction, especially when you're new to it, it can be so exhausting, and I just want to acknowledge that and give you that suggestion of trying stations. Now, I think this is plenty long enough an episode. I usually like to keep them much shorter than this. But both these things are important to talk about. And I'm just so grateful that you're here for another season.

Thank you! 

If this is your first ever episode of teaching la vida loca, I am glad you're here. And I hope that you'll take some time to go back and listen to some of season one. Maybe just browse the titles first and see what looks interesting. What in the heck am I going to title this one? I am so grateful for you teacher, if you could take a second and give the podcast review, I would be ever so grateful. It really does impact my ability to reach more teachers believe it or not. I know Spotify allows you to give stars. Apple allows you to do stars or take two to five minutes to write something for me. Those written reviews do wonders for Google metrics and having Google put me in front of more people. So, thank you for your support. Thank you for listening. Thank you for the opportunity to support you and next time, I don't know what I'm going to share. I have no idea, I've no, I didn't know what I was going to share on this one. So, I hope to see you here again next time and until then i'll be teaching la vida loca and I am sure you will be too. Thank you for being authentically you. You are so special just the way you are, you are amazing, brilliant, inspiring, creative, and I am so grateful to have you in this space with me. Love you teacher. Take care.

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