I am sure that you have done this before too. Comparing and despairing does so much harm for us as CI/TPRS teachers:
- It sets our focus on other's achievements, instead of on our own victories. There are so many things to celebrate in our classroom achievements as a CI/TPRS teacher (even a successful round of circling!) that we lose sight of when we focus on others.
- It makes us think that CI/TPRS is something which can be learned overnight. When we compare and despair, we ask ourselves, "Why am I not achieving like this person?" Maybe it is because that teacher is further along in his/her CI/TPRS experience than you. As teachers, we all know that it takes years for a novice to develop into an actual teacher, so why do think differently about CI/TPRS? In most cases, switching over to CI/TPRS means abandoning and switching one's whole worldview of language acquisition. All of this takes time. Thinking that CI/TPRS is a skill which can be easily learned in a workshop sets up an unrealistic expectation, so when we do not achieve like others, we become discouraged.
- It steals our joy as CI/TPRS teachers.
- It causes us to lose sight of our own individual talents and abilities. Every teacher has his/her own unique personality which others do not possess. Whenever I am in front of my classroom, I have to remind myself that I am the one in the classrom and not "X person." There are lots of CI/TPRS activities which I have tried in good faith which have worked perfectly, because it is me in front of the classroom, and there are lots of CI/TPRS activities which I have tried in good faith which have absolutely bombed, because it is me in front of the classroom. That does not mean that the CI/TPRS activity itself or I am the problem; it just means that probably the activity and I are not a good fit...for now or maybe ever.
- It sets up an unncessary competition which never existed in the first place.