Sunday, May 11, 2014

Being Imperfect is OK

Three years ago I was just about to finish my first year of teaching. That year was one of the most stressful of my life. I remember arriving to school hours early, leaving school hours late, and then going home to do hours of school-related work. I had a stretch of  months where I came home and told my wife that I was going to find a new profession. Now, the thought of leaving this profession doesn't cross my mind. I have come to realize that I am meant to be an educator. Part of this transition began when I read the book "See Me After Class" by Roxanna Elden. This book helped by showing me that other teachers have struggles in their own teaching lives. It helped me to build confidence by giving me a new perspective; other teachers make mistakes, too.

I feel the majority of experiences educators share are their successes and great ideas. We often hear the highs and rarely hear the lows. I believe this can create a competitive, instead of collaborative, atmosphere. Instead of growing with each other, we are trying to display our A+ products to outdo one another. Sharing our trials and tribulations makes us very vulnerable and set us up for judgement and possible humiliation. But, it also humanizes us and gives us opportunities to relate with each other and grow from our experiences. When we share our shortcomings with a teacher who listens with a nonjudgmental ear, a lot of positive outcomes can happen:
1) It could help us to talk through the situation for a quality reflection.
2) It can create a collaborative atmosphere where both parties can help and learn from each other.
3) It can create a trusting relationship where both members are more willing to share challenges about their classroom.
4) It can help us to build confidence in ourselves.

We all know the positive effects of a student who has a confident attitude in the classroom. A teacher who has a confident attitude will be better equipped to help his or her students. I want to call for a shift in how we communicate. I would like to hear more teachers sharing their daily struggles to peers in a comforting atmosphere. This calls for better participation from the listener as well. We need to stop saying what we could have done better. We need to stop breaking down our peers when they confide in us their problems. We need to start connecting and exposing our human, imperfect selves.

Here are some things that I know I don't do perfectly
* Lessons- Every day I have lessons that don't go as well as planned. Many of them absolutely bomb!
* Preparation: I have had many times where I didn't have time to prepare a lesson that way I would have ideally imagined. 
* Management: I have kids that talk in the hall when I'm not paying attention. I have students who will find time to play around during independent work.
* Promptness: Everyday I am late to a special, or lunch.
* Time-Management: I have had numerous days where I just didn't have time for a certain subject, or two, or three... Don't tell my boss.
* Instruction: There are days where I speak for too long and all my kid's eyes are glazed over. 
* Conferencing: I have the hardest time managing who to conference with, for how long, what to conference about, do I conference individual or in groups, how long do I conference for, and how do I individually meet with everyone?
* Student Excitement: I know that I have kids who aren't always thrilled about being at school.

When I began this blog a goal of mine was to share some of the struggles within my own classroom. I plan to do that periodically in my future entries. I hope maybe it will inspire some other educators to do the same. I believe this will give as all another outlet to learn and grow from each other.

Until next time, just remember this: it is OK to be imperfect. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Not only is it ok to be imperfect, it is phony to be otherwise.