I don’t like this.

Impulsive, prompted by a picture of a fancy salad, post about non-ELT things.

When I was watching the recording of the iTDi Summer School MOOC session by Rose Bard a few days ago, I wrote on Facebook that it’s rich with ideas I relate to. After the session I found a note I’d only half-consciously made while following Rose. The note says:

Help them go beyond “I don’t like this”.

I turned the page of my planner over to this new week and let the note fade away from my memory, without giving it much further thought. Since I’m in this lazy-jelly-brain summer state.

写真 (1)

A few minutes ago (upd: a couple of hours – it takes time to write, even if impulsively) I was flipping casually through the pages of a mag. I saw this picture. I wasn’t hungry, and in fairness I’m no good or satisfactory cook, but I thought it looked fresh and easy. When my eyes glanced through ingredients and saw “300g of pears” there, only a millisecond passed before my mind registered a fleeting but confident “I don’t like pears” line.
I’m sorry for the lack of logic and presence of irrationality here, but this was when I frowned at myself and rushed to this screen to type an incoherent post about the dangers (?) of not liking stuff.

Where am I going with this?

“I don’t like this.”
It sounds like a strong statement of personal will, manifestation of solid knowledge of self, its needs and desires.
It also sounds to me now like a limit, a constraint one willingly prescribes for oneself, to live within and know little better.

And since it’s only human to like and dislike, I imagine I could, in a carefree summer fashion, connect this to teaching and learning.
I don’t like to teach kids. I don’t like to teach, or better say deal with, grammar. I don’t like role-plays. These are major and all have stories of reasons behind. However… What is it about me and liking here? Does liking have a place at all for a teacher, imagining herself to be a more or less professional? Feel free to let me know in a comment.

I don’t like it that I regularly struggle with writing.
I don’t like libraries.
I don’t like Quizlet. (it’s funny just how often this app name makes an appearance in my posts)))

It’s fascinating to me to analyse what lies behind those dislikes binding down our experiences. It’s no less fascinating to imagine now what can happen once I let go of my dislikes. It’s bound to be uncomfortable there out of the homelike confines. I might, in the end, harden in my view and confidently proceed with disliking.
Incidentally, I might just as well reconsider.

*****

I don’t like pears much. If I see them sold at the market I don’t have an impulse to buy a kilo, not even one pear (as opposed to cherries). If I happen to have pears on my dining table, I’ll most likely choose another fruit or nothing. If one feeds me pears I’ll eat and like them, though. I love lemonade made of pears. Pear cakes. The smell of pears. I’m not totally sure what’s behind my dislike. I don’t have a serious point worthy of hours of thinking over with this post. I don’t like cockroaches either, but I’m not inclined to try liking them, or making pets of them, not at this point of my life. Obviously, you can’t rejoice in all things in the world, and indeed why would you?

But seriously, next time I catch myself thinking “I don’t like this”, I’m going to take a step in just the opposite direction. Facing the antipathy, probing for stamina, going beyond my self-imposed prejudice.

The Help them go beyond “I don’t like this” sank deep into my mind and heart, and I want to explore it, for myself and maybe students, too.

*** Late Warning***
It should be obvious I’m musing while being well aware of how far from generalizations this whole line of reasoning is. Thank you.

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8 thoughts on “I don’t like this.

  1. There are excellent lessons to be learnt here. Intuitive connections.
    you have exactly the same attitude to pears. My dislike is probably the expectation of them going all mushy before I have any chance of doing anything with them. And… yes… wasps… I associate pears with wasps. This probably from my childhood summers at grandma’s house. There used to be a pear tree. an old one, pears dropping down and wasps swarming in. Never dared to go near them. But, as you write, whenever anyone made that courageous effort of picking a good one, cleaning it and handing it to me, I loved them. Refreshing, sweet juiciness.

    Needless to say, I love this post, and your writing style, Anna.

    • annloseva says:

      That was an extremely interesting case of intuitive links being made for me, and the one I couldn’t quite hold back. This comment, in its turn, made my day!
      It is refreshing to realize that what seems to be quite a vague, confusing idea in my own mind might actually strike a cord for others, too. It never fails to surprise me.
      “Dare” looks such an apt word choice there.

      Thank you so much, Marian! I’m happy you’re reading my blog.:)

  2. Rose Bard says:

    I wonderful reflection Anna. Thanks for sharing that lesson with me. I’ll write that one in my heart too: “Help them go beyond I don’t like this.”

    Isn’t it funny that we do things and we hardly find the time or need to verbalize them all? I guess that is a bit what happens in the classroom, we do many things and might not stop to think about this or that. Thanks for being there in my session. And sorry I couldn’t attend yours. I’ve been extra busy with personal stuff. Things I hadn’t given much attention in the last two years and it was time to dedicate to – my personal spiritual journey along with my family.

    Thanks again for writing this post.

    ps: between pear and cherry I’d stay with the cherry. It must be the color that makes it desirable. 😉 no kidding. For me the pear is all to do with the type of pear. I’m not a fan of pears either and they are expensive in my country. I don’t like it much mostly because it’s hard to get a juicy and sweet pear around here. I like fruit that is very sweet or a bit acid will do too. I also don’t like when it gets to soft and yellowish. But the pears I get around are usually watery like and sometimes taste like nothing. But cherries uhmmm if you can get some (veryyyyyyyyy expensive in my country), it is always delicious. 😀

    • annloseva says:

      Thank you for reading the post and leaving this comment, Rose! I enjoyed your session a lot, I felt comfortable and … at home while watching this rec. I believe most of the things we automatically do we do not being totally aware why. This could also be fine, on second thought, otherwise my mind would burst overthinking.

      I’m glad you’re with me in my love for cherries!=) The colour – yes, I didn’t really think about it, but you’re so right. It is seductive.

      Focusing and giving attention to spiritual journeys is another thing I’m toying with blogging about, seriously. I wish you a pleasant and fulfilling journey!

      It’s always so great to have a comment from you here.

  3. Hana Tichá says:

    What a lovely post, Anna. The first one I got to reading after my short break from the virtual world. And I can’t say I don’t like your post 😀 On the contrary, I LOVE it!! Why? Hmmmm …perhaps because it expresses deep feelings of others, including myself. However, I’d say I often think about why I like things, not why I don’t like them. As I’m writing this comment, I’m listening to a retro music channel and I turn up and down the volume according to how much I like/don’t like the song. For me, liking/not liking is usually related to something from the past, as Marián says. For example, Cloud Number 9 by Brian Adams triggers some nice memories while other music leaves me indifferent.

    Nevertheless, I’d disagree with one thing you mention in your post: “Obviously, you can’t rejoice in all things in the world, and indeed why would you?” I believe that in an ideal state of mind, we’re capable of loving cockroaches or any other repulsive creatures. And I’m convinced that that’s the way it should be. But we’re humans and we are imperfect – we obviously have our favorites and we always will 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.

    Hana

    • annloseva says:

      Thank you, Hana, as ever for a thoughtful comment! I’m flattered and pleased that our moments to get back to things (me – blogging, you – reading blogs after the break) came togehter here.=)

      I like your positive thinking! I accept my imperfection, too. Apparently, I’m not zen enough to like cockroaches! I’ll keep this image of an ideal state of mind in my mind, for future)))

      Thanks for always giving interesting comments that encourage me to think it over again!

  4. Sandy Millin says:

    Hi Anna,
    What an interesting and unusual way to look at the world 🙂 Thank you for writing it.
    When I started doing my Delta I had lots of those ‘I don’t like…’ sentences in my head, but I think I’ve moved past quite a few of them now. It’s a question of changing perspective, or of adding ‘but…’ like you did with pears (I don’t like pears, but I love pear cakes etc)
    So ‘I don’t like role plays’ became ‘I don’t like role plays as a student because I had bad experiences of them when I was a student. So I’ll play with them. Oh! My students like role plays and gain from them.’ I still don’t use them much, but I do occasionally, which is a big improvement on before.
    ‘I don’t like spiders’, which I used to say when I was a child, became ‘Spiders are fascinating and beautiful creatures. They’re not hurting me. I’ll catch them and put them outside if I feel uncomfortable being in the same room.’
    And a lot of foods which I didn’t use to like have gradually become part of my diet by adding them bit by bit, like eggs, pasta, rice, tomatoes, and many vegetables.
    We don’t have to like everything, but like you say, we shouldn’t let that stop us from trying new things all the time.
    Sandy

    • annloseva says:

      Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for the wonderful comment, especially for the part about you and role-plays. I need to overcome my distaste to them, and it’s strange – when I was a student I had fun doing silly and nonsensical dialogues, acting it out. Now I just see it as an artificial form of making students produce the language the situation sort of implies. I don’t believe it, and so I don’t like to do it… So wrong. I know some students are excellent at this, and, like you say, actually GAIN from role-play. No matter how it looks/ feels to me!
      So thank you for your comment which gave me one more strong nudge to push my self back to the corner and try role-play again. Maybe I just need to find “my” way of doing it.

      AS for other new things, just last week I experimented with something that I wasn’t quite so sure I would like – and it’s in my recent blog post =) It went pretty smoothly, for someone in doubt)

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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