Writing this series on the "10 things I have learned over the past 10 years" has really become a reflective process for me. More and more, I find that I am writing these posts not only to the next generation of teachers but to a 27 year old me as well. Speaking of reflection, this post is about realizing that we are human and we are going to make mistakes. Along with those mistakes will come a correction and hopefully reflection.
"Have you ever failed a class?" I ask this question all the time. I ask it to my students, colleagues, friends, relatives, strangers on the street... everyone. Why? Because I think it is says a lot about who a person is. Let's get this out in the open right now... I was a horrible student and I failed more than my share of classes (I wish I could find and show you my grade 9 report card...terrifying). "OMG" you'd say, "How can you be a teacher?" Well firstly, I didn't fail everything and secondly I did learn from my mistakes. Most importantly, my parents never gave up on me, there was a pretty wicked punishment (threats of having to go to private school + the mother of all groundings) and I grew up. The big one for me was the final piece of the puzzle, reflection.
Now, I'm not talking the SFU model of sitting around in a circle, banging a bongo drum and writing in a journal about my feelings of the day. For me, reflection means soul searching, realization and a commitment to to do better.
Flash forward 20+ years. I still make mistakes all the time. Ask my students... I spelled "wet" as "whet" last year. My crowning achievement was mixing up pronouncing sequence and sequins during a study group discussion. My use of a "number sequins" wasn't correct apparently and to which Scott Robinson is still mocking me with photos! <----
I still get in trouble for shooting my mouth, picking battles I don't need too, not letting things go, being a spaz... you know, all those things that make me Browner. But I make less of those mistakes now, I check my ego at the door more often and I still reflect everyday on the choices that I make.
What I am trying to say is this; don't be afraid of making mistakes and failing. Don't be afraid of being corrected by someone else. Reflect on what happened, the choices you made and the impact you had.
PS: Making mistakes in front of kids and then owning them is one of the most humanizing things you can do!