The title of this post sounds rather negative, almost repentant, but I ask that it not be viewed so. The problem with many people’s attitudes about learning is that it is based on the fundamental principle of improvement—which is accompanied, for some reason, by the shaming of “unimprovement”, when that is the most natural component of learning anything. It is “unimprovement” that shows just how much one knows, and “unimprovement” that teachers should care about the most. Most teachers are reluctant to address weaknesses as they are. They are afraid of hurting their student’s feelings (such a well-intentioned act of love!)
I, too, am afraid of hurting my student’s feelings. I’m afraid to address my student’s weaknesses: to tell them that they are sliding backward from their goal, or that they must turn back to the fundamentals…I’m afraid because I have the same attitude as them. Mistakes are shameful. They must be eradicated or buried as soon as possible. If they are not, social consequences occur, and along with them the feelings of guilt, exclusion, even abandonment.
I need to shake off this fear of being wrong. I will be wrong. I will always be wrong about something. I need to learn that mistakes are a good thing. In fact, they are the most helpful tool to learn. The more I understand my mistakes, what I’m doing wrong and why, the less I fear them. They will become friendly to me, and I will care about them and will want to change them because I love them.
I’d like to practice embracing my mistakes by listing them here, for all to see. My goal this year is to become comfortable with them, then to understand why they are my mistakes. What fundamental source do they come from? What basic truth do I need to re-address? How can I keep myself from committing these bad habits?
Some of my “wrongs” are listed out in the chart below, as well as my procedure for how I will work on them:
There are many other things I must improve. If anyone wants the rest of my list, I’m more than happy to share. The more I expose my weaknesses, the less I have to hide, and the more I will trust myself in my ability to improve.
For my own students (and my student’s parents), keep me accountable and tell me when I make these mistakes. Help me become a more useful teacher to you all.