Skip to main content

Ruminating about responsibility, standards, expectations and excuses

I have a widget on my blog that automatically posts a new quote every day.
Today's quote caught my attention for several reasons. Here it is below.
Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.Henry Ward Beecher 
First of all, I hold myself responsible to a higher standard. Always. In fact, sometimes I wish I could cut myself some slack because being responsible all the time is exhausting. Of course, I'm not saying that the alternative is to be irresponsible, but sometimes I secretly wish I did things in an ordinary way, rather than all the way. I think that's why I sometimes feel that I'm not good enough. I have high standards for myself and everyone else, and there's no way I would lower my standards, but I wonder if anybody really notices. Of course, that is not the point though sometimes a pat on the back or a bit of recognition could go a long way.

I started to write that I never excuse myself, but that is probably not true. I think sometimes I try to find excuses (I like to think of them as reasons) for why something didn't work, but really they are just excuses to try to get myself off the hook. That is hard to admit, especially in a public forum like a blog, but I think I will only change that if I am honest with myself. So, I think what Henry Ward Beecher is trying to say, though living it is hard, is that we need to always have high standards regardless of what others expect of us. It's really an agreement with myself and no one else. I think it's also about putting forth my best effort, being honest and having integrity.

Something I need to keep in mind is not to push myself to an unattainable place that might set me up for failure. In order not to do this, I have to be honest with myself. I have to know my limits and what I'm capable of. And, I have to try no matter what. I have to be kind to myself. Then, I won't have any reason or pretext to excuse myself for something I did or to shy away from challenges. It's also about having self-confidence and feeling like I'm more than just good enough.

There is a lot to ponder in this two-line quote, more than appeared at first glance. What about you? How do you interpret the quote above?

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge, Day #25.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Mini Lessons

Sometimes, I plan too many teaching points for one lesson. For example, instead of focusing on one strategy that students need in order to become more proficient readers and writers, I try to teach several strategies at the same time. 

Sometimes, I stretch out a teaching point beyond the 10- or 12-minute time limit I've given myself because I worry that my mini lesson wasn't enough or my students won't have understood what I intended to teach. So, sometimes, I beat the lesson to a pulp one too many times, or forget to have the kids practice the lesson before they go off to read or write. (Asking students to practice a lesson after you teach it, with you right there to observe and help guide students through the process, is very effective. Try not to skip this step!)  

Here's an example of a mini lesson that lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted in better learning.

My students are in the second round of historical fiction book clubs. In a couple of weeks, we will start …

A Confession

I have a confession to make.

I want to write a book. 
A professional book. 
I think I have a lot to say. 
I think others could benefit from my experience.
After all, I have been an educator for over 30 years.

But, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said before?
What new knowledge could I add to the table?
Who would even bother to read what I have to say?

These are questions borne of fear.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of not being able to complete such a daunting project. 
(At least, that's what it feels like to me right now.)
Fear that I won't make time.
Fear that I'll run out of time.

But, over the last couple of days, I've gotten some encouraging words of support from the Innovative Teaching Academy - 
#ITA17 Facebook group. 

You can do it!Write for yourself.
But the message that is propelling me forward is this one: 
It doesn't matter how many times something has been said...each time someone else says it, new people hear it...and that's where you make the d…

Questions

Today's post is short and sweet because I just got back from a night of playing Bunko with friends. 

I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!