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Today, we're going to talk about something that I think we don't give enough attention to: some of the most common things we tend to tell ourselves as new teachers. I don't think we realize how much what we say to ourselves matters - and how what we say to ourselves determines our experiences.
Let me give you an example. We had our boys over for dinner the other night and it was Father’s Day, and our oldest son Dave hadn't brought a Father's Day card for his dad.
When I asked him why he hadn't bought a card, he explained that he has a really hard time knowing what to write in cards, so he said, “I just didn't want to get a card because writing in cards is really hard for me and I never know what to say.”
That comment triggered a conversation about that very sentence. We said to him, “Well if you keep telling yourself that, it’s always going to be true. If you keep telling yourself that writing in cards is just really hard for you, that means that you’ve just accepted that as reality and that’s just the way it is. But the problem with that is that means it’s never going to change because you’ve accepted that that’s just the way it is."
So instead, we encouraged him to think about instead saying to himself, “I wonder where I could get some ideas for what to write? I wonder how I could improve, how I could get better at this?”
Well now we’ve changed the game, right? Instead of being the forever victim of poor card-writing skills, the potential has opened up for ways he can learn and improve and grow.
One thing that we don't learn or talk about in university is how much teaching really is like this as well. So much of teaching is an inside game, and a lot of our success as educators actually comes down to catching the seemingly innocent things we say to ourselves that we accept as just “truth” and questioning and reframing those thoughts to create a more positive version of our futures in our classrooms.
There are 3 myths we often believe as new teachers – maybe without even realizing it – and because we believe these things, we just expect them to be true. So, we’re going to talk about them today.
And, we're going to talk about how just noticing that we’re having those thoughts and making a very subtle change in the way that we think can make a dramatic difference in your experience as a new teacher.
I hope that this episode is helpful for you as you start thinking through how to best prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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