After almost nine years of blogging, my regular readers probably know my writing patterns. There are those posts that are inspired by my amazing colleagues and those posts that I write about my children. I write some posts because I came across some exciting research study and others because I found some new teaching strategy that I feel deserves larger attention. Some posts just involve me working through my thoughts on something I read or heard. Those posts are the ones where my endings aren’t often where I planned at my start.
I’ve written posts for lots of reasons over these last nine years but I’m going to take a different approach this week. I’m going to write a post to myself. Let me clarify a bit. I’m in the midst of one of those professional rites of passage where the ends are not defined or guaranteed. Right now, I’m rational and logical and I’m thinking of the advice I may need to give to my future self. Here’s what I think I’d say.
Dear Future Ollie,
It’s probably eight or nine months in the future now and you’re looking back here for words of encouragement. You may be working through some difficult emotions but you came back to this blog to read how your less emotional self thought about things. I want you to treat future me/present you like we treat our students and our children. Be positive. Be supportive. Be respectful. But most importantly, remember, the power of yet.
Imagine if you had a student in your class who was struggling with a concept. If they announced “I just can’t get this stuff,” you’d be quick to interject “You just haven’t gotten this stuff yet!” You would explain that learning occurs through fits and starts, through successes and failures. And that each event, positive or negative, is an opportunity to learn. You’d work to develop different teaching techniques because you know they’ll eventually learn it. If you’re back here reading this post, Future Ollie, it’s clear that your learning isn’t done, yet.
Remember when your daughter complained about not being able to ride her bicycle. After falling down quite a few times, she wanted to give up. But you argued that she couldn’t give up because she didn’t know how to ride a bicycle yet. You then worked to figure out a different way to teach her. Treat yourself with the same level of encouragement and positivity that you would with those in your care. You deserve it.
Remember that “the power of yet” embodies growth and development and that we alone control how we react and respond to growing and developing. Work through your emotions, Future Ollie.
Now, let’s get to work. We’re not done yet.
Your past and present self