Last year I went to DisneyWorld. I could not believe the long lines for rides. While some of the lines were definitely not worth the wait (Haunted Mansion I’m looking at you), other rides (Splash Mountain) were definitely worth the wait. This wild ride of teaching has been more than worth the wait and has exceeded my lofty expectations.
When I first started teaching, I felt like I wanted to make everything definitive. I think this was a mind hack on my part to convince myself I was doing the right thing.
For instance, I would make these definitive statements like, “Group work is the only way to go.” “Technology in the classroom is vital.” “He must do these 100 sentences to learn his lesson.” It is quite comical looking back on it. It is also quite sad, because what did I know at that young age? I was trying to fit every one of my students, every one of my lessons, and, yes, every one of my decisions in this nice, little black and white box.
We all know life doesn’t work that way, and a student and their background is so much more complex.
Now if this was just a me problem, that would be one thing. Unfortunately, I see this same mistake being repeated over and over again in education today. Social media is not helping out. In the rush to put out a great sound bite in a tweet, facebook post, or blog entry we often box our opinions into a corner as the only definitive approach to education.
We see this often with the latest and greatest “flavor of the day” in the education world. Definitive statements begin to flow. “Maker spaces are the only way for students to feel empowered.” “There is no better way to learn than in a PLC!” “Identifying a fixed mindset is a game changer.”
I’m pretty sure I can see the collective eye roll of all of my readers.
In our race to a definitive statement, we minimize the actual importance of the given topic we are reflecting on.
Ultimately, I came to the realization that my confidence was the thing that needed the most boosting without the use of a definitive statement.
Thankfully, I can now definitely say, there is always room to grow. That is the funny thing about growth. For when we grow, so does our confidence.