Measuring Up or Catching Up … An Impossible Game

Filed Under (Personal thoughts, Reflection) by on 02-12-2010 and tagged ,

Oliver Quinlan wrote a really interesting post this week that resonated with me. All about how we perceive ourselves as teachers in comparison to our colleagues. Read it here.

I think as teachers (reflective ones anyway) we are always first to be hard on ourselves and are the first to chastise ourselves when things go wrong. I have certainly never in my life felt less self confident and more inadequate than I have at times over the last 3 months.

It has made me think, firstly about my own priorities (another blog post) but also about attempting to stem the flow of inadequacy. Twitter, for all it’s helpfulness, can at times, appear to act like a breeding ground for it. There are so many people doing such amazing things; being cutting edge, inspiring great learning and guiding the children in their care to achieve, as well as seeming to be able to stay on top of the more mundane aspects of teaching – not to mention maintain a balanced personal life! Holy Grail!

But stepping back, I have to realise I’ve only been doing this job since September. Trying to measure up now is like trying to compare yourself to an older sibling – in age at least its a comparison that one will never win – catching up is impossible! Likewise for me to try and compare myself to an experienced teacher is a set up for failure – for every hour, week, year that they have taught, and continue to teach, I will always be a finite amount of time behind. It’s a game of catch up I cannot win.

Comparison is like stepping onto a treadmill that will never stop. I cannot let my head play that game. Just because I am new to the job, doesn’t mean I need to have inadequate as part of my job description. I need to accept that I can’t measure up or catch up to experience. This doesn’t mean I lower my own expectations of myself, but do accept that I cannot expect to achieve knowledge and wisdom without experience. I cannot gain experience without the time and the practice. Practicing means making mistakes, but also learning to enjoy the successes.

This year (and probably a few more!) is my internship, my gaining of experience. Despite hard work I do have the right to feel proud of my small achievements. I need to restart posting my small successes on my blog. These successes are my own, and I shouldn’t belittle them because others appear to be doing greater things.


One Response to “Measuring Up or Catching Up … An Impossible Game”

  1.   mandared Says:

    Really thoughtful post, and well timed for me too. I’ve not posted anything on my blog for a few months now and have almost given up on Twitter entirely, not because I don’t think they’re valuable, but because I don’t have any space in my head for much more than just staying afloat at the moment. Teaching a full timetable and managing behaviour is taking every ounce of energy that I have, and much as I’d love to be doing a much better job at all of it, that would require me to find more effort/energy from somewhere, and I haven’t got any! I’ve resigned myself to ‘good enough’ and am chipping away at the things I need to address most as and when I can, and trying not to get stressed about all the other things that I’d like to add to the list but can’t.

    Not sure how helpful comparisons are, but you’re still blogging and on Twitter, so you’re ahead of me at least 🙂


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