Prompt #1: I wish I had known…

This blog post is part of the #CCCWrite Reflective Writing Club. I signed up because I will do just about anything that @katiepala asks me to do, even things that I thoroughly dislike (reflection and writing, for example) because I usually end up learning something along the way. If you want to suffer through this with me, click here.

This particular prompt almost had me turn tail and run from the get-go. When Katie first mentioned this to me, I’m pretty sure my exact words were, “As long as it isn’t too fluffy.” I was hopeful that the “reflective” in the name of the writing club just meant thinking of ways to improve or revise something I did in class, not actually reflecting. Clearly I was in denial about what I signed up for.

I can’t see how you would have ended up here without knowing the prompt, but here it is: “Identify a time in your past and think critically about differences between then and now. How have you changed? What do you know now that you wish you had known then about yourself, your profession, other people, technology, or life in general?”

Are you kidding me? I’m not one for introspection or retrospection, instead choosing to focus on things I can change and improve around me. I only suffer through this because I enjoyed seeing the blog posts written by my colleagues who are capable of emotions and to read theirs without posting my own seems super creepy. #lurkerstatus

I’ve been rolling this around in my head since I saw the prompt a few days ago. As an educator, I wouldn’t say there’s much I wish I had known when I started. Not that I was an excellent instructor then or that I am one now, but there’s a ton I have learned along the way from fumbling through it all. Every mistake and misstep was a learning opportunity that I wouldn’t dare begrudge myself. Although I do wish I had known about the treasure trove that Twitter is for teaching resources, especially #MTBoS!

In an effort to transcend #lurkerstatus and actually share something #fluffy, I wish that past-me knew that trying and failing is better than not trying at all. Throughout my young adult life, I opted to do the bare minimum in most things I was part of – mostly out of the fear that if I were to REALLY try and put my full effort in, I might REALLY fail. It wasn’t until years later when I was at a talk by Jo Boaler that I realized that I had had a crippling fixed mindset. Having excelled academically without ever having to try, I didn’t want to make an effort and risk not doing well – that would mean I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was! If I honestly look back at high school and college, that statement could be applied to most things I did, even extra-curricular crap like Academic Decathlon and soccer. Ugh. Past-me was the worst. Maybe past-me needed to hear you’re not that damned smart or no one cares if you ask for help or apathy isn’t cool or all of the above. It’s still scary to put myself out there and risk failure, but that’s what you have to do if you want to grow as an individual – which is what I’m telling myself about this blog post.