One of the reasons I dislike dieting and exercise plans is because I don’t like waiting for the results.
Most of life, however, is like a diet or exercise plan. You have to keep plugging away, and slowly the results will appear.
This is also true in teaching. We must be patient with our students and realize that growth comes at varying speeds for each student. Some race to the finish line while others crawl. Some don’t make it to the finish line in a given year and need to begin the race again.
Elected officials, who set policy, think that if all students are given the same material, are taught it the same way, in a prescribed time frame and then take a standardized test, they should perform at a predetermined standard. Rinse and repeat.
Teachers know that is not true for students, and we need to learn that is not true for ourselves as well.
One way we can do this is by not comparing ourselves to other teachers. There is always going to be someone who is more creative, more technologically gifted, more fun, more organized, more _________, you fill in the blank.
We all have strengths, and we all have areas for growth. Notice, I didn’t say weaknesses?
The truth is we may not reach the finish line at the same time as someone else, but it doesn’t mean we won’t get there. The first thing we need to do is simply ask for help.
One of the first things most teachers do is remind our students to ask for help when they have a question, need support, or are struggling.
It’s time we take our own advice
For some reason, teachers reluctant to ask for help. We want to appear as experts when the truth is none of us is an expert at everything.
I can usually, eventually figure out a tech question, but my next door teacher is a whiz, so it makes sense for me to just ask her for help. This saves me a lot of frustration and time.
Another teacher has super creative ideas for projects. I could sit in my room and struggle with ideas on my own, or I could gather a group of teacher friends and we could brainstorm together. Asking for help moves the process along so I can spend time actually developing the project, not just coming up with ideas.
Another teacher always seems to have fun, creative activities that she adds to her lessons. After years of teaching, it’s easy to fall back on old ideas, but if I asked her for some ideas for my own lessons, I bet she would love to share.
Planning and prepping is time consuming. Learning new technology is intimidating to some teachers and frustrating to others.
Find the experts
Look around your building. Who are the experts? I guarantee there are many experts.
As teachers it is important for us to leave the walls of our classrooms and seek resources as well as serve as resources for other teachers.
Asking for help, also does something else, it validates the value and worth of the people you are requesting it from. Teachers as a whole are helpful people, and feel good when they are able to help other teachers.
So do yourself a favor– ask for help when you need it and give help when asked. It’s a win-win situation.