I am a teacher. i am also the most miserable person in the world to teach.
As the quarter nears completion, my students are stressing about grades. C, one of my trickier pals, checked his grades and bluntly announced "Mrs. G., I'm going to get a C in Science. There's no way I can get a B. I'm bad at Science. So, I'm not even going to try anymore."
As I gave C the whole 'are-you-getting-extra-help-put-in-the-effort-it-will-pay-off speech, I realized who he reminded me of. Myself. I get frustrated easily, and if I'm not immediately good at something, I give up. I tell people I don't want to play pool, or softball, or original Mario brothers, and then I sit lonely and bored on the sidelines while my friends hoot and holler and hustle. I get bored, and depressed, all while maintaining a too-cool facade. I know that with practice I would be a decent player; I also know it is no fun to lose or be the cause of a loss. I'd rather be bored than lose a trivial bar game or make my friends mad. How stupid is that?
Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. Why am I so afraid to be exposed as a fraud that I don't even attempt a single one? Why am I so insecure that I feel my friends and family won't want to play with me if I'm not perfect? Most importantly, why am I infuriated when my students are unwilling to try again after failure, but I'm of the same mindset in my personal life?
I'm done being content with excluding myself. With focusing on the things I'm good at, and hiding from the rest. I'm patient with my students, and now it's time to put in the slow, plodding, patient work on myself. I need to learn how to cultivate a less than perfect, more positive psyche.
Good things are coming for me in 2012- I can feel them. I'm ready to grow and learn. To make mistakes. To stop being such a pain in the ass. To start listening. To be teachable. Now I just need to find someone with the patience to teach me....