I have worked for over 20 hours this weekend on preparing units of work, mainly for the new Society and Culture syllabus for Year 12. Popular Culture was in the old syllabus but there are some pertinent changes. We do a focus study on Social Media which I developed two years ago as a workbook based on an existing format that had been created before I had arrived at my current school. I used the workbook as a basis because I didn’t want to stomp on toes within the first few weeks of starting. I am also taking the opportunity to move it into Google Drive, make it current and increasingly an interactive learning experience.
Water Management for Year 9 Geography was the other main area I was preparing. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the most frustrating aspect of teaching Geography for me is that the resources are boring. Not being my area of expertise or even interest, I find it harder to find quality resources for Geography than for Economics or Business Studies. When I teach Geography I prefer to do it in PBL style and for NSW Geography that means following the Research Action Plan laid out in the syllabus, not mere secondary research and regurgitate.
So as I was thinking about what I would write for this blog tonight I thought about my striving for perfection. Upon a quick Google search I discovered 14 Signs Your Perfectionism Has Gotten Out of Control and straight away I want to correct the word ‘has gotten’ in the title to be ‘is’. I’ve reduced the original list down to the ten most appropriate for me:
- You’ve always been eager to please
- You know your drive for perfection is hurting you, but you consider it the price to pay for success
- You’re a big procrastinator
- You’re highly critical of others
- You have a hard time opening up to other people
- You know there’s no use crying over spilt milk…but you do anyway
- You take everything personally
- …And you get really defensive when criticised
- You’re never quite “there yet”
- You have a guilty soul
I wouldn’t say I’m eager to please but I’m eager to do the best for my students because I don’t want to let them down (1). I’m constantly surprised that other teachers don’t have the same drive and inside my head I am highly critical of them even though I can see their perspective, I just can’t relate to it (4). It hurts me because I don’t sleep or exercise enough as a consequence (2) which I feel guilty about, and the lack of time I spend with my own children (10). Yet I am a HUGE procrastinator, sometimes taking all morning to surf the Internet for trivial things rather than start a project I know will take all day (3). I take just about everything that happens personally, in the emotional sense (7), even though logically I know most events around me are not actually about me so when I am actually criticised it hurts incredibly deeply and I am defensive but the words to my defence may not be spoken (8). I used to cry a lot (6). About everything and anything that I perceived as having gone wrong. But the tears have dried up. I think the tears of release were better because now it feels like a huge weight inside.
Given all this, I probably shouldn’t be a teacher because there is no finished product. The Geography lessons I’ve been preparing are for 30 students and it is just impossible to have it perfect for every single one and they aren’t finished products to be packed up and sold, they are constantly developing human beings. Concentrating on me, I feel I am never “there yet” as a teacher (9). I am constantly striving to be a better teacher and to help others to improve. It’s incredibly frustrating that there is no obvious end goal. And don’t say students’ results are a measure of a teacher’s success because they aren’t. Sometimes success is keeping students interested enough to simply stay at school and not drop-out. Sometimes it’s just helping them to find some pride in their work. Sometimes it’s just a positive conversation about learning or life itself. These little moments are what makes the experience worth it.
I am well and truly over my 28 minutes so I’ll end this here. Except, the one frustrating aspect of this #28daysofwriting is that the time restriction and the commitment to post every day means I don’t have time to truly perfect the writing and I feel guilty about some of the drivel that has been posted from this process. So sorry!