I recently had a conversation with someone where I said, “If so- and so- were observing me in my classroom, I would want them to think that I was a good teacher.” After reflecting on Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, I have struggled with my comment. On one hand, I absolutely meant what I said, and on the other hand I did not, which has inspired this reflection post. After all, I believe my efforts to think through this will only help me develop the desired mindset. Let’s not also forget I’m writing to be transparent and to learn from other educators.
I would absolutely be lying if I told you that I did not care what my boss or my colleagues thought of me as a teacher. I never want my boss to think, “What was I thinking when I hired her.” Or a colleagues to say, “That’s just Courtney, you know, she just does whatever she wants.” I truly care. To be completely transparent, who does not like a compliment from time to time? Who does not like feeling valued or apart of something great? So here I am, asking myself the hard question, was I demonstrating a fixed mindset by my comment? Was my goal to put my talents on display for this observer? Was I seeking validation of my worth from them? Yikes, kind of scary to admit out loud because that is exactly what it sounded like.
However, on the other hand, I know that my daily focus has never been trying to prove my worth to my boss or colleagues. All in an effort to enhance what they already think about me. Their opinions of me are NOT what drives me out of bed in the early mornings to go over the days agenda. Their opinions are not the reasons why I invest so much of my time into planning new and better lessons. They are not the reasons why I read books that help me think deeply about my job and help build on my weaknesses, when I HATE reading. (You will never see me reading for entertainment. Never.) I roll up my sleeves, dig my heels into the ground, and face challenges head on because, I’m focused on learning and improving with my students everyday. I seek meaningful feedback and I turn my mistakes and failures into lessons I can profit from in the future. I want to grow. If I tell myself that I want to do what is best for my kids, than I need to back up my words with action. This means I need to continue to look for ways to develop new skills throughout each year. This also means I have to leave that cozy comfort zone, of what I think I do well and attempt something new, in order to do something even better. Recognizing both sides of my comment leaves my wondering, do I really have a growth mindset or both? Frustrating stuff. What do you all think?