We all work hard every day trying to make a difference. I work with some amazing teachers who are life changers. They work hard to create lessons that will last a lifetime, yet they are constantly on the hunt to improve. In spite of their hard work, they still think they can do more.They create what they believe to be amazing products, then go home and reflect on how to make things even better. Reflection is not a personal action. You cannot do it without assistance. In order to look at yourself you need a tool.
As I sit at home typing this I am trying to think about what I look like. I cannot see my own eyes, my own chin, my ears, my scratchy facial hair, etc… I could go out and ask my daughter what I look like and she would probably use some objective words describing my height, hair color, etc…I could go out and ask one of my sons and would probably get some subjective words such as bald, weird, ugly, etc… I could look in the mirror and form my own opinions, based upon my own lens.
In our houses we all have mirrors that I am sure we look at daily. Mirrors are standard in American homes. We depend on them to assess how we look. But a mirror is not the only tool we use to judge our appearances. I am wondering, how many of you own a personal scale as well. I do. Each morning, I look in the mirror and then step on the scale. For those of you that own a scale, have you ever asked yourself why. If you have a mirror and can see what you look like, why do you need to step on a scale and get a different assessment. What if you think you look good according to what you see in the mirror, but the scale tells you something different. What do you believe? For some reason I find myself siding with what the scale says. I tend to believe that if the scale says I have added a few pounds that I need to lose them regardless of what I see in the mirror, or even what other people may tell me.
At my school I am always asking my teachers to reflect on something. Some people attempt to reflect while all alone. Some people find a friend and confide in them. In your own world, when was the last time you took a good look at what you were doing through multiple lenses…not just what you see when you look at yourself, but what others see, and what objective tools may tell you.
At my school I sometimes see my role as being a teacher’s “scale”. I know that at times when we look in the mirror we see what we want to see, whether it is good or bad. We are free to use subjective interpretation to assess our value. I also think it’s important to balance that with an objective measure. We also need validation and feedback from an unbiased data point. As the individual, it is up to you to determine what measurement you put more stock in. Do you value the mirror or the scale more? Sometimes what you see in yourself is more important than what others see. But sometimes your own feelings can sway what is real. As professionals we need to put as many tools in our reflective toolboxes as possible and then decide what to do with what we see. Do we just need to straighten our hair or do we need to put forth the work of losing a few pounds? Should we just smile and appreciate the hard work already invested or is there more to be done? Find your tools, reflect on what you see, then keep working to improve.