We all make mistakes. But for teachers, making mistakes can be especially difficult. For one thing, they can have big consequences – after all, the role of teachers helps shape young minds. And living with the mistakes made in the classroom can feel lonely, because there is a culture in education that rewards teachers for their excellence and shines on some big challenges.
An educator has decided to change that. He was John Harper, assistant principal of Choptank Elementary Public School in Cambridge, Mo. My bad, Where he asks a teacher to point out a big mistake they made, and to talk about what they have learned from it.
“People should listen to this podcast and realize that they are not alone when they screw up big,” he said. “And yet we think about it because whatever you see on social media – either Pinterest or Facebook or Twitter – you see the perfect class or you hear about the perfect moment. Highlight reel. ”
He has been podcasting for over five years and has put together over 100 episodes. The format is small, each episode only lasts 10 minutes. But they are often emotional and face human struggles to teach with insecurity, work-life balance, and detachment and burn-outs due to epidemics these days.
Edsurge: Why do you think teachers are often reluctant to share their mistakes?
John Harper: I think it depends on mental security. And in the teaching profession, people are often judged by mistakes. People will go inside and observe. A lot of times someone is looking, where did they go wrong or made a mistake? And you are [marked] Down for that. As opposed to in some environments [in other professions], People admit mistakes. They say, it’s all right. Take that chance. Go for it. Maybe it didn’t work out. But I think teaching is a scary business because you worry that someone is always evaluating you.
This is especially true last year [teaching remotely] With zoom. I mean, your parents, grandparents, parents are watching your every move.
Since we live in that world, do your guests worry that coming to your podcast would be detrimental to their careers?
I recently interviewed a teacher who was very adventurous and came up with a podcast. When she first started teaching alcohol and ways to deal with stress and anxiety. And they were really powerful. I really appreciated her for that. And I’m sure she’ll have to worry a little bit about other people when she hears this. But she talked about how she is [now been sober for a long time]. And she should let people know that they are not alone.
Do you think that when teachers and educators are more insecure, it also affects their relationships with students?
Absolutely. It helps when teachers are willing to share their insecurities with children. I have noticed this myself. It’s been a while since I’ve been in class, but I take medications for anxiety and I’ve shared this with students and parents before. And I’ve noticed for myself that once I talked about it – and I don’t go into great detail with them – but once I shared it with them and I’m insecure with them, they downplayed their protection a little bit. Once you are ready to open up and share with them, the kids will reciprocate. I mean, if we’re so honest with teachers for so many days, we ask kids to come to circle time and class meetings, and we ask them to share.
And yet, often we don’t share.
Especially in this day and age, we can share more with all the anxiety and stress and depression and things that are going on. If you are in a class where someone feels safe and if they have a problem, they will pull you aside one by one or after the class. It is very powerful.