Friday, April 3, 2015

The learning curve.... make a mistake only once? HA!

Mistakes are the way we learn. I tell my students this. I try to live by it. I know it is true for myself. And here's the thing for me~ I've been around for awhile, making the same mistakes over and over. It takes time to unlearn bad behaviors. The more times I make them, the longer it takes me to learn new behaviors. I need to remember this in the classroom. I don't know what these children have learned at home. Or in the past at school. It takes time to unlearn learned behaviors. I tell them it is okay to make mistakes. That this is the way we learn. I believe this whole-heartedly in regard to my students. So what about in regard to adults? Here is what I believe. It's a lot of jumble rolled up together, so bear with me.

I believe that, as an adult, and the farther and farther we get into our education as students, we are more and more responsible for our learning and for learning a successful way to do things. But someone once said to me, "some are sicker than others." Don't get me wrong, I don't think my students are "sick." I don't think people are necessarily sick. But I think in life, we just cannot know what people have lived with and learned. And to say to someone, "if you make the same mistake more than once it is a choice" is ridiculous, judgmental, and not something I can support from someone who says they are an educator. What brought this on? Stupid stuff on social media. This sounds like something I don't want my children or my students to encounter. ever. I believe that change takes time and learning takes time. Falling down has to be okay.

I say to my children and I believe it in the classroom: Growing up in public is a bitch. A sponsor said that to me one time. And I see that. I make a lot of mistakes. I don't know how many times I have to be humiliated and make the same mistake over and over. I think the difference between a choice and trying to unlearn bad behavior or learning the new behavior has to do with willingness. When I say, "it wasn't my fault.... " (insert whiny voice), I am not willing to change, and that is a choice. When I look at my side of things and realize that yikes, I messed up again, and that I still have a lot to learn, then I am still teachable. I have the chance to still change. I know I might make mistakes again, but for me, hopefully I'll recognize my mistake sooner and I'll start moving in a different direction. As I move in that different direction, I'll probably make new mistakes, and sometimes I'll probably pull out that old, comfortable, warm-fuzzy mistake because I know it well and it is a part of me. But making the mistake less often and on a smaller scale means that I am learning. My learning curve is not the same as yours. I have a classroom full of students who live in different worlds than others and that have their own bad behaviors and bad thought processes. To expect them all to be the same is ludicrous. So I expect progress. On a consistent basis. Does that mean continuous? no. Do I tend to forget that occasionally in regard to my class, I do. I tend to believe that they should always improve. But my experience says this is not true. We are more likely to need time to practice new behaviors and meet those expectations. *big sigh* I owe some students some love and understanding.