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March 18, 2021

Break Away From Perfection

As a new teacher, I’ve struggled in my classroom this last year. I’ve had lessons that don’t go as planned, students that I can’t seem to reach, and days where no matter how much I prepare, it doesn’t seem to be enough. I had this idea that I needed to be the “perfect” teacher. But let’s face it, there is not enough time to always be perfect, and perfect is boring.

I was invited to Teaching Channel’s TeamsFest through my district. I immediately said “Yes, please! Anything to help me and improve my practice!” I had no idea what TeamsFest was about to offer me, but I was excited and ready to be part of a team where everyone wanted to improve their teaching.

I met up with my fellow colleagues at our retro hotel in Palm Springs. Even though it was toward the end of the school year when teachers are normally stressed and tired, I immediately felt a spark of energy. At TeamsFest, there’s a feeling of vitality because you’re with people who also said “Yes!” People who said “Yes!” to this amazing journey into a new kind of professional development, to improving their practice, and to creating a new mindset in education. The optimism from TeamsFest and my colleagues was contagious. We dove right in at the first banquet dinner. We discussed student centered learning, breaking educational norms, being vulnerable, not being afraid to make mistakes, and how not always being perfect can lead to creative solutions.

During TeamsFest, my colleagues and I wanted to create a learning plan or a plan of action to help improve our teaching. In our group, we used reflection of our practice to enhance our instruction. We decided that when we get back into the classroom, we’re going to use Teaching Channel videos to inspire ourselves, then video our own lessons to get critical feedback from our colleagues, and use the feedback to revise our teaching using Teams.

At first this seemed very intimidating, but when I discovered that most of my team was having similar troubles in the classroom as myself, and that “perfect” was not the desired outcome, the pressure was off. We were all willing to be vulnerable and go on this journey of self/peer reflection together. The need to be perfect was no longer what I desired. TeamsFest helped me see that the desire to improve and learn from critical feedback is more valuable than the desire to be perfect. I cannot wait to see how much I grow and how much my colleagues grow this next year. I am breaking out of my little 90 degree angle box to see how much farther than “perfect” I can go.


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