I don’t know if it is the time of year or the situation I’m currently in, but I’m having a serious relapse into my “God-I-suck-at-this” syndrome. Things haven’t been working the way I planned (not uncommon in teaching) and at the same time I have a lot more people in my room observing me than I normally do. I try to have an open classroom, and I welcome feedback, but after someone has observed me multiple times and said nothing to me about it, I start to wonder if I not only did a poor job, but seem like a hopeless case.
I think part of the problem is that, at some level, I’ve bought into the super-teacher myth, and I think I must be truly amazing, phenomenal and uncommonly awesome to have any real impact on my students. Sure, it’s great to be truly amazing, phenomenal and uncommonly awesome, but we can’t all be that great, right? And I’m also tried to have a balanced life, raise a family, and not burn out. I want to still be teaching, and still love teaching, 10, 20 years from now. In order to do that, I have to be able to get enough sleep, not spend all weekend every weekend working, and be at peace with a lack of perfection, or even just a lack of excellence.
So maybe I’m just mediocre. If I was ok with being mediocre I could just shrug of poor observations, or negative comments, because those are normal for mediocre teachers. If I was ok with being mediocre I could be happy that most of my students seem to be learning. If I was ok with being mediocre I could ignore the suggestions by others that I don’t think deeply about my practice, because mediocrity suggests that I don’t think deeply about my practice.
I don’t want to be mediocre. But maybe I am anyway, and maybe I just better get used to it.
One of the comments I received on my last post (about “non-vegan” vegan meals) was that I forgot to include a great one – burritos! I remember the first time I went to Chipotle after I stopped eating cheese. I had an internal battle – do I buy a burrito or not? It had cheese on it, but maybe I could cheat this once! Then, as I went down the counter, I realized I had another option – just have them hold the cheese! Talk about a “Doh”! Now we enjoy cheap and easy burritos at home and I’m so glad I don’t have any cheese getting in the way of my yummy bean, rice, salsa and avocado burrito! We have recently started making our own refried beans (instead of using canned ones) as a cost-cutting measure, but the G-man has adapted a fantastic recipe. So, here’s to bean burritos!
Refried Black Beans
Note: these are pretty mild. You could totally add in more spices or chopped chipotle and some adobo sauce. We don’t just because of our little guy, but without him around I would be getting my spice on!
3 cups of black beans (or 2 15oz cans)
1 cup of water OR beer (we recommend beer!)
1 TB olive oil
1 TB ground cumin
1 tsp chile powder
1 small yellow onion, minced
1) Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Pour the beans and water or beer in. Mash half the beans with a potato masher or fork. Don’t puree them – you want the texture.
2) Heat the olive oil in large skillet. Add the cumin and chili and fry for about a minute until the spices begin to sizzle.
3) Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent (about 3-5 minutes)
4) Add the onion mixture to the black beans and stir and mash often, until they thicken and begin to get crusty on the bottom. Stir up the crust teach time it forms and mix into the beans. Cook this way for about 10 minutes. If the beans start to dry out too much, add in some more water or beer. Salt to taste.