One day I’m going to live in Theory…

One day I’m going to live in Theory…

Whenever I think of the word theory, Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity (which I honestly know nothing about) pops to mind. Hence the photo at the top of the post. Are we going to talk about physics today? Hmmm, no! 

So, let’s get to the real reason behind this post: Theory, with a capital T, as used in names or places.

For me, Theory brings to mind a different connotation: a work of fiction, written by Thomas More in the 16th century (in Latin!), that has a Greek coined word as its title. Can you guess what it is? No? OK, let me give you a hint: it is about this perfect place, with perfect people, living a perfect life because, no surprise here, everything goes perfectly. Oh, and one more thing: this place doesn’t exist (Extra hint: the title is a big spoiler. If you speak Greek, the fun is ruined!).

If you thought about Utopia, then you guessed it right. Because the book describes in detail the perfect society etc., etc. in a place that doesn’t exist (that’s what Utopia means in Greek). Utopia has got a lot of similarities with Theory because, in Theory, everything goes perfectly as well.

I don’t want to imply that theory is not important. It is. A lot. If you want to build a skyscraper, your foundations need to be strong. If you want to build a hut, don’t even bother. Every teacher should have a solid theoretical background before they delve into the unknown. And the unknown is teaching because, let’s face it, every day in class is a completely different day. And that’s where theory doesn’t prepare you for what is coming.

A student is misbehaving, you are having problems with classroom management, your classes are not moving forward, rude parents, deadlines and the list could go on. You have tried every single thing you read in your theory books and still, nothing worked. How can that be? When you read your theory, everything seemed so easy, because there was an answer to every problem.

And here’s the moment of truth: it’s not always your fault. There will always be moments or situations which, no matter how hard you try, things don’t improve. It happens. Because we don’t live in Theory. We live in the real world, with real problems and real people. And there are a lot of variables to consider about each problem.

So, my advice is: do not get discouraged or disappointed if you cannot handle things the way theory tells you. You are not alone in this! Always try to do your best, come to class prepared, be funny, be serious, tell a joke sometimes or not, build mutual trust and understanding with your students, love your job, find time for yourself, get a hobby, laugh, enjoy a cup of coffee during recess, talk with your fellow teachers, watch a movie or a TV series and stop worrying about Theory, with a capital T, because it is a place you will only find in books!