Friday, August 5, 2016

Process Over Perfection

Well, it's been quite some time since my last post. "BLOG" has been on my to-do list in big, bold letters for months now, and it somehow kept getting pushed to the bottom of the list. Recently, I ran into one of my old high school teachers at Whole Foods, and she asked if I was still blogging. Embarrassed, I said "kind of..." and apparently that was the motivation I needed because here I am. Writing again finally.

I want to be clear that my lack of writing does not come from a lack of excitement about what I've been doing in the classroom. I think I can honestly say that this past spring semester was one of my most rewarding teaching experiences. In the fall, I felt insecure and uncomfortable as a high school teacher. I was trying to fit into some mold I thought existed for upper secondary teachers instead of just being myself in the classroom. It was awkward and frustrating, and I finally had to tell myself to just settle down. This spring, though, all that awkwardness and all those growing pains paid off, and I found myself so much more willing to try new things in my classroom.

So why couldn't I seem to get myself to sit down and write about all those experiences through the spring and even the experiences I've had this summer at conferences? Great question. I could blame it on busyness, but that's not really fair. Everyone is busy. If I'm honest, I just wasn't prioritizing the time and space for written reflection. Every time I would sit down to start a post, my mind would wander to other seemingly more pressing items on my agenda. I'd start to ramble as I wrote, feeling like I was writing in circles and deleting whole paragraphs because they didn't feel good enough. I saved and deleted drafts all through the spring; it was like I couldn't ever get anything to come across in a satisfying way.

In thinking about this yesterday, I realized that I had gotten stuck in a loop where perfection became more important than process. As I looked at my to do list and started to think about this new school year, my eyes came across the word "BLOG" in all caps again, and I decided it was time to break my silent streak. It's a new school year, and I'm preparing to teach another group of incredible kids. They have stories that need to be shared. They're going to create and grow and learn and teach me important things that will continue to shape my practice as an educator.

Today I'm committing to process over perfection. I tell kids that's what I expect from them all the time, but I realized this week that I haven't been holding myself to the same standard. Sometimes, even in the professional world, it can become easy to let self doubt sneak up on you and convince you that your narrative isn't worth sharing, but that's just not the case. Our collective voice as educators is what will create change and advance our profession. Every story matters, and I'm so excited to see what incredible stories I get to hear and tell and engage in during this new school year.

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