Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Cult of Negativity

I have been reading a lot of educational blogs recently. They are usually fascinating reading, punctuating by numerous new and progressive ideas. However, I have one problem with them. Teachers are much too negative. I don't mean negative in the sit-in-the-faculty-room-and-moan-about-everything sense, but I don think that we as a profession are much too hard on ourselves. Blogging has created a new generation of the self-reflective teacher. Now our thoughts have a place to go, that isn't just our head or a piece of paper that we will lose. Now, they can be posted to a public space, read by everyone and real discussions can ensue. This is a wonderful change, and lots of positive improvements will come from it. All of these people must work very hard to analyze their jobs the way that they do. Plus, they are always looking to improve and make changes.

I must admit that sometimes the blogs depress me, though. Far too often, the blogging teacher is much too hard on him or herself. I fall into the same trap sometimes. We want, not to make a difference, but to make THE difference in students' lives. We want them to love education. We want to embrace new means of teaching and learning. We want our lessons to be amazing. And guess what? It's not all going to happen overnight. We actually need to celebrate the small victories. If we try to do everything perfect all of the time, we will go absolutely crazy and never refresh or recharge for the next school day or the next school year. We have to learn to take baby steps and be satisfied that we accomplished something better over what we did the last time. Massive change will come, and with it self-satisfaction (and the feeling that we are still five years behind the times). But, we cannot forget to actually compliment ourselves, instead of always being so hard on all of the things we didn't do. We actually need to look at the things that we did.

I had to get that out there, perhaps as a meta-self-reflective piece after reading other blogs. This has become my outlet for my thoughts so that I won't forget them. And so I won't later be too hard on myself for not writing them down.

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