When I left school, I was not sure what I wanted to do but I was very sure that I was not going to be a teacher.
The main reason for this was a teacher’s comment to my mother in a parent teacher conference:
‘Michael would make a good teacher. He can do many things but he is not particularly expert at any one thing.’
Looking back I think this teacher was trying to say that those who have had to work a bit harder to learn something are often better equipped to teach it.
At the time I took it as a challenge to become an expert at something other than teaching.
Now I consider it to be a pretty accurate reflection of how I think many teachers and parents are feeling at the moment. It is hard to feel like an expert at any one thing when you are learning multiple new things each day. But we should all feel pretty good about all the things we can do.
We might not feel like experts, but today we had an assembly to remind ourselves that we are now pretty good at things that we did not know how to do at all just a matter of months or weeks or days ago. As adults, we could have chosen to stop learning new things so we could feel like experts in the things that we knew how to do a year ago when we were all forced online. Instead, we continue to choose to learn new things for the sake of our children even if we constantly feel like beginners.
It can be difficult for us adults to admit that we are beginners in anything – even in things that we are doing for the very first time. However, intellectual humility or a beginner’s mindset can increase our capacity to learn new things, and improve our thinking and decision making. Our children are wonderful models of how effective a beginner’s mindset can be when nothing is certain and every challenge seems new.