Last week, I posted about having priorities and making cuts to increase balance in our teaching lives. This week I wanted to post about the never-ending quest for teacher perfection!
- Do you ever look longingly at the pictures on blogs or Pinterest and despair about creating the “perfect” __________? I’ve been there and spent hours trying to make or do something because someone else did it and it looked awesome.
- Have you ever seen someone’s copies on the copier or heard about an amazing lesson that you just HAD to use in your classroom. Yep!
- Have you ever thought “Next year, I’m going to…” Oh, yeah! – I did this one yesterday. I am always convinced I can make everything even better next year.
Leo Babauta, one of my favorite bloggers, blogged about “The Futility of Always Pushing Myself to be More.” This post struck a nerve with me because I feel like we, as teachers, are always pushing ourselves to be better at what we do. This is often seen as a positive thing, but is it really? Do we ever think “Hey I’m pretty good at what I do the way I do it?” Not really. That is why we have new programs every year and are constantly looking for the perfect lesson idea and revamping things over and over.
However, I am at that point in my career, where I am starting to see things circle back around. The programs and philosophies I started my career with are coming back – in some cases, we have gone through a couple circles. Were these ideas ever wrong to begin with? Did they stop working? Or did we convince ourselves that we weren’t doing something right and had to do it better? Was the way I did something years ago awful or did it just go out of popularity?
(As an aside, I recently started to go through files from the beginning of my career. I literally threw away entire file folders without even opening them. It broke my heart because of the time and effort I put into those items. It’s not that they were worthless or did not meet today’s standards. I threw them away because the thought of “revamping” the non-digital versions of all those items made me wonder if they were worth keeping. To integrate them into all the things I have and do just wasn’t worth the stress of thinking about it.)
At some point, I think we need to acknowledge that we are good at what we do – curriculum is not changing THAT much, kids are not changing THAT much. We know what we are doing and we are experts in out fields. Leo Babauta said that be had to learn about the concept of enough and says that “I became happier with the concept of already being enough.”
I think that we, as teachers, need to realize that we are enough. If we have been hired and employed as teachers, we have proved that we can do our jobs well. Not that we don’t have to keep up with best practice and make some changes along the way, but we need to be confident that we are good at what we do and our best is good enough.
How are you enough? What are your strengths? What do you do well?