Hopefully, you have all had a relaxing and enjoyable March/spring break - which probably seems so long ago. The last term of school always went so fast for me .... you blink and you are writing your last set of report cards and another blink and you are planning the end of the year party. Isn't that the truth!

Have you ever felt that you had a sixth sense or something didn't feel right or said "I have this feeling"? There's no rational logic. You're affected by your instincts - either positive and negative - "gut feelings" or "hunches".

Do you consider to what extent you should trust your feelings? When should you act on them or not? These are good questions to ask yourself and are good reasons that instincts need to be discussed.

I think that instinct is a subjective (not objective) individual feeling brought on from experiences (professionally and personally) from every aspect of our lives.

As teachers, have you ever had to make decisions without any facts that could steer you towards success or failure? Sometimes, in certain situations, your instincts might have to take over. Perhaps, if we don't connect with our instincts or learn to trust them, we may overlook opportunities or even stumble into problems we could have avoided.

Don't you think it's best to pursue an instinct when you feel something might be wrong and make time to investigate? When we disregard our instincts (even negative ones) and do nothing, we make a horrible professional mistake. For example, when you feel a student is troubled, you can't say to yourself, "Just leave him/her alone - they'll be fine".

Positive instincts are harder to deal without any facts to back them them up - "It just feels right". Often, it's not the instinctive concept that's not wrong, but the execution that is faulty. We need to trust our positive instincts and support students who are experiencing temporary periods of academic or social problems.

Your instincts do count and your feelings are important factors in predicting achievements. Here are a few suggestions to consider when you act on your instincts:

1. Use your instincts to generate ideas and gather facts.

2. If you are tired, stressed or pressed for time, don't rely on your instincts as much.

3. Don't act on your instincts hastily - "sleep on it".

4. Discuss your instincts witha trusted colleague before acting on them.

Believe me when I say that instincts are valuable as they bring with them the experiences of your lifetime and they are unique. Facts and figures have never made an idea successful. But don't forget that instincts can work for us or against us.

Think about you and your students in June - you have a few weeks left of school. Your instincts should tell you that unless you keep teaching until the last day, problems in performance and behaviour can probably be expected> It's wise to listen to your gut and plan ahead. Trust your instincts!

"Instinct is the nose of the mind". - Madame de Girardin

Please be sure to read about my many priceless teaching strategies and please pass it on to your friends and colleagues.

Enjoy the month of April - everything is just becoming alive again. Speak to you next month.

Happy trails,


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