“You’re Too Hard On Yourself!”

Analog comment from my grandma after reading this blog:

I think you’re too hard on yourself.

Analog comment from my fiance:

You’re your own strongest critic.

Yes, I evaluate my lessons with a very critical eye.

But hear me out: I’m extremely careful to be methodical and specific when I look back at my lessons.  First, it helps me improve my planning and teaching.  Second, it also helps even out the highs and lows I feel after classes.

After the “blah” day of teaching, I didn’t go home and say, “Well, that sucked.  I guess I’m a horrible teacher after all” and drown my sorrows in Plants vs. Zombies.  First I looked at what went well, and to my surprise, I could list off a bunch of learning that I knew took place that day.  When I looked at what went wrong, it was actually one aspect of one activity.  It wasn’t a catastrophe just because it wasn’t perfect.  Even though I felt a little off, the class made progress.

On the flip side, sometimes I feel like a lesson just went Amazingly well and I can’t even believe how competent I feel.  I still look back at exactly what went well and why.  Then, when I ask myself what could have been improved, I realize that actually, it wasn’t perfect.  Even though I felt like a veritable teaching wizard, I can still make progress as an educator.

So in a way, yes, I’m hard on myself.  But by being rationally critical of the learning that took place on a given day, I open the door for my own growth as a teacher and I gently close the door that irrational, unsubstantiated fears of inadequacy would otherwise pour through on the “blah” days.

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