Making New Mistakes
I know I got some things right this semester, and on some things, I know I was way, way off (see: communication of yesterday’s MS testing schedule and checkout procedures for a quick example).
My goal next semester is to get more things right and fewer things wrong. Isn’t that the definition of learning?
Tim Sanders, Yahoo!’s former Chief Solutions Officer and author of Today We Are Rich, says that when he was growing up, his grandmother would always give him this advice: It’s OK to make mistakes. Just keep making new ones.
I already know I’m going to make lots of mistakes next semester— but I want them to at least be new ones. There’s nothing worse than making the same mistakes over and over and expecting a different result (see: the definition of insanity).
To help me avoid repeating mistakes, when I have a negative experience, I spend time reflecting on it, and I ask myself “What could I have done differently to avoid getting in this situation again?” Just yesterday, I wrote myself an email titled “Semester Test Schedule Concerns— Fall 2018” and scheduled to receive it next August when I’ll be working on the Fall 2019 semester test schedule. Nothing major happened yesterday and the student checkout process went fine, but I want things to improve and want to avoid added stress if I can help it. In my email to myself, I added specific examples and feedback to help me remember specifically how I think things could improve. Overall, what I’ve found is reflecting while the memory is still fresh helps me avoid version 2.0 of something unpleasant. Not always, but most times.
Let me encourage you to think back on the good things that happened in your classroom and with the students you work with every day. Whatever you did to make it a positive experience, plan to do that again. Then think about some of the not-so-good things that happened and ask yourself the question, “What could I have done differently to avoid getting in that situation again?” Come up with a few solutions and write them down for future use (I suggest emailing them to your future self). When you do, you’ll be amazed at the results.
I envision great things for next semester because we’ve had such an incredible first semester because of the special group of people who choose to call CAC home. The beginning of the spring semester will be here in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait! Let’s make the most of the final day of the semester, then enjoy the break, and then let’s do this school thing again… only better.