Learning & Growing
Over the past several weeks, I’ve had to do quite a bit of reflective work. What do I think learning is? What would an ideal learning environment be like? Am I doing things in my classroom that foster the kind of growth that I say I want, or am I just doing what comes the easiest to me?
It’s not always been easy to do. Sometimes, after reflecting a bit, I can see where I’ve taken the shortcut or the easy way out. Just a couple of weeks ago, while thinking about teaching my classes, I had a revelation of sorts. “Oh,” I thought, “why am I teaching it this way, when that way would be so much better!?!?”
Those are humbling moments. I have over a decade of teaching experience and yet I still feel like I’m making rookie mistakes.
And that’s okay.
One picture has become very helpful for me to think about regularly: I’m a garden, not a statue. I’m not done growing yet. And my goal isn’t static perfection. I’m a better teacher than I was, but I’m not nearly as good as I can be. I’m not a perfect soul, but I know the direction I’m headed and I’m not going to stop growing! My flaws don’t define me, like they would in a statue. Instead I realize that I’ll always need to be weeding out the bad and watering the good. Is that freeing or what?!
I hope to model this to my students too. I remind my students that there just isn’t any way to grow in learning how to think ... besides thinking! No shortcuts here! It's a regular part of my teaching. But I’ve also been inspired by Dweck’s (2007) Mindset book to consider telling my 'easy A+' students: “I’m so sorry to have wasted your time, let’s find something that will really help you learn.” It will take a bit of planning to find ways to follow through with that. But I’m excited to consider the possibilities of what my students and I might come up with!
Hopefully, next time you face a humbling moment in life, instead of feeling down about it, you can say to yourself, “Okay, let’s pull that out and water something good. What’s growing in my life?”
Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success: Ballantine Books.