I am a perfectionist, to an unhealthy degree in fact. Yes, my perfectionism and discipline make me a great worker and employee… and I get a lot of quality work done. But perfectionism is also my greatest enemy. Why do I bring this up?
Google tools play a huge place in the future of education, in my opinion. I would be completely lost without google products, both in my personal life and in my classroom: from organization, to real-time collaboration, to assessing and analyzing, and making the outside world real and alive from our seats. Yes, I love all things google! So when I read about Google Teacher Academy, I really wanted to be a part of the experience. I decided I would apply and get my application ready in July. Without getting personal, I did not have the time this month to put my full effort into the application process. And so, I figured I would not be able to apply this year… After all, if I couldn’t make the application “perfect”, how could I possible submit anything? But that decision majorly bummed me out… I mean, what if there was even the slightest chance that I might get selected with a less than perfect application? And so, I decided I would give myself a 24-hour time limit to put the application together. I had already read the application several times so I had an idea in mind for my responses and has a vision for the video. I worked my very hardest all day to get the written and video portion of the application together. The essay answers just came from the heart, so I didn’t stress over those. But I found the 1 minute time limit on the video to be a real challenge! I had decided that I was going to keep it simple, but the time constraint was making my overall message less strong. I edited, re-recorded, re-scripted, repeat… until, at 3:30 am, I decided it was complete.
BUT, I didn’t feel particularly proud of my application. I mean, I worked really hard on it, but I knew I could have done better. I didn’t have time to work on the application the next day, but I couldn’t get it off my mind. I wanted to tweak it, work harder, and spend hours more on it. That next day was pretty miserable, in fact. I didn’t have time to work on anything, but I couldn’t stop thinking about things that I could change… In fact, I decided that I just wasn’t going to apply at all this year. It wasn’t even about fear of not being accepted… but a disappointment that the final product hadn’t turned out as perfectly as I had wanted it and that it wasn’t going to blow the judges off their feet. I talked to my mom about it and she told me I better get my butt home and hit the submit button after working so hard on getting it all prepared! So I listened to her and did just that… Without sitting down to rethink, I hit submit.
Okay, so it was submitted. But then I thought about my video… and why I hadn’t tweeted the link to share with others. I mean, I gain so much from twitter – it’s my #1 source of learning and growing in my teaching. I realized that I was embarrassed that my video wasn’t the best work that I felt that I could do. I didn’t want people to know about it… But my video is all about collaboration and learning from one another; sharing and building relationships to help one another grow; and spreading great ideas to allow for innovation in the classroom! Even if it isn’t perfect or my best work, isn’t it my responsibility to share?! Even thinking about the fact that I hesitated so much frustrates me! Wasn’t it Churchill who said, “Perfectionism spells paralysis”?
So here is the video I put together:
Feel free to “like” the video or comment. Who knows, it might help :) Thanks for reading this! It was a hard post for me to write! But I am glad that it gave me an opportunity to share with all of you why I am so passionate about being a supportive teacher and helping my students navigate the stress and anxiety that HS can bring. I try to make my classroom a place where my learners can safely take risks… yet know that I will be there when they fail. Because perfectionism certainly is a rotten thing! Good is often better than perfect. And doing something is always better than doing nothing at all.