I’ve participated in professional development sessions before, where groups of educators have discussed what we can do to improve. As we look at options, often the point is made that, “we all do our best.” We all try as hard as we can. And I get that! I’ve made this point myself — many times!
Recently though, I’ve been reading and thinking more about comments made by John Hattie, and doing “my best,” no longer seems good enough. On page 9 of this document, Hattie says that, “Expert teachers are more likely to set challenging rather than ‘do your best’ goals …” Hattie’s referring to goals for students, but shouldn’t we as teachers, hold the same high expectations for ourselves? I think that I almost always “do my best”:
- I know my students.
- I differentiate to try and meet all student needs.
- I offer lots of voice and choice in the classroom.
- I plan ahead.
- I try to stick with predictable routines.
- I try to always remain calm.
- I ask for input from other educators.
- I make changes to my teaching practices based on feedback from others.
And yet, every day, despite my best efforts, there’s always something I can do differently. I often drive home and think, “If only I …,” or “Tomorrow, I’m going to do … instead.” Thinking about what Hattie says, I want to be able to do more than “my best,” and I want to know that challenging myself to do more will benefit my students even more as as result.
How do you set these high expectations for yourself and your students? How do you see “problems” not as failures, but as opportunities to improve? I’d love to hear your thoughts!