Feedback & Perfectionism #MTBoS30 Post 5


I’ve had some major a ha ‘ s this spring.  Mostly about myself but as I dig in to reflect, I realize I am not so different from my students.

As part of my Master’s program 15 years ago, I earned my certification for Gifted & Talented Education.  Quick shout out to Dr. Julia Roberts of WKU’s Center for Gifted Studies.  She was an amazing instructor. Everything we did pertained to our classrooms, our students. She helped me build an even stronger foundation in my educational beliefs.

I quickly realized so many of the topics we discussed and strategies we learned could apply to all of my learners, not just those identified as GT.

One is perfectionism.  I have struggled with more students this year failing to complete tasks.  As I dug for reasons why, many shared the fear of doing something wrong, so they chose not to do it at all.  OR when faced with a challenge, they felt their end product wouldn’t be high standard so they chose to let it go.

I say I believe growth mindset.  I encourage my students to learn from mistakes.  But do I truly live it myself? 

My philosophy, if it’s worth doing, do it right the first time.  Meaning to put every effort in up front, planning before I begin the task.

Step back.  When is the last time I challenged myself to really try something just beyond my reach?  Something that I could not achieve on my first attempt?

It’s hard to experience failure.  So is that why so many students give up before they ever begin to try?  Even with nudging and attempting to support a culture of growth in my classroom, I feel that I have failed certain students.  So what can I change to move forward again?

Another A-ha for me this year…  Are my students not moving forward because they are waiting for feedback?  Rather than reflect for themselves, are some waiting for my “seal of approval” before the next step?

Ouch.  Timely feedback.

If I expect it, then I must model it.  Rather than awaiting pending approval, it’s time to sit down, make end of year adjustments and keep moving forward. 

It’s my classroom. They’re my students.  Ultimately, their progress is in my hands.  I am a professional who can reflect on my practices and make decisions that will have the greatest impact for my learners to move them forward.

Yes.  This post is a bit out of frustration.   It’s just that sometimes we ask for fresh eyes not to tell us we’re good teachers and class went smoothly that day. I ask for feedback because I am constantly trying to improve my craft.  If I have even one student not moving forward…I want to do better and I need to do better.

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