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Are Teachers Hard On Themselves

May 11, 2014

This morning as I sit thinking about the past year I am left with the question, “Are teachers hard on themselves?” As educators we continually fine tune our ability to evaluate. We evaluate learning, behaviour and the lessons and activities in our classrooms. We expect to improve while we hope to have “the perfect lesson.” Is this possible? Is it too much to hope for? Do we evaluate ourselves to harshly?

I recently talked to one educator, who I consider to be doing a fabulous job, and this teacher had set expectations which were higher than had been attained. The educator puts in long hours works hard, cares about students and is continues to grow as a professional. At the same time the educator is not satisfied with the current situation and recognizes the need for current growth. I can emphasize with this individual.

When I went back to the classroom from the Ministry of Education in 2011 I had a solid knowledge of the curriculum. I knew how all of the pieces fit together and how linkages could be made between concepts in mathematics. I also felt I knew how to assess students both from a formative and summative perspective. In short I was ready and as prepared as anyone could be to go into a class and facilitate a high level of mathematics instruction.

All of that being said I have never been satisfied and have continually thought I could do better. I look for ways to improve every lesson, project, assessment and report card I write. With this in mind I ask, “Are educators too hard on themselves?”

I can not help but respond by saying that many are and this comes from a professional desire to grow and help students and a personal desire to be the best they can be. It seems to me that as long as educators continue to improve, respond to the needs of their students and are willing to evaluate their practice that is all they can ask of themselves. Some lessons will not work, some assessments will flop and sometimes days will not go well but every year we improve. To me that is what being a professional is about. It is not being perfect it is perfecting. This is the type of teacher I hope we all try to be and that we want to teach our children.

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