Over the last few years, a confluence of ed psychology fads, being a parent, and trickle-down acronymage has had a profound effect on the way I see myself and my students.
When the “Growth Mindset” fad hit education, it like every fad before it risked being distilled down to soundbytes and sloughed off as trite. Though I was actually not a fan of Carol Dweck’s book Mindset (I tell folks that there are about seven really good pages in there) the idea is simple, brilliant, and exactly what I needed at this stage of my life and career.
In my teaching, growth mindset manifested in my drive to make learning progressions clearer for my students so they could understand “what growth looks like” rather than blindly throwing darts at an unclear target (“Will this one get an ‘A’? Let’s give it a shot…”). Showing a student who is operating at an “F” level what an “A” looks like isn’t helpful: Showing what a “D” looks like makes growth seem possible.
Around the same time I was reading and learning about growth mindset, I found myself sitting at the dining room table watching as my eldest son deflated when I pointed out the one (one!) error he had made on his weekend math homework. I realized that growth mindset needed to be considered in my parenting as well as my teaching.
And simultaneously: TPEP.
I’m National Board Certified (and working on my renewal). I’ve received awards and been teacher of the year (ain’t I special). Even RateMyTeacher has nice things to say. And when I’m honest with myself on my evaluation, there are some “Basics” in there.
As there should be.