You’re Not Exempt

After finishing Johnston’s Choice Words, I began reading Opening Minds.  Johnston’s writing continues to be easy to read and so real that it makes you go: “Doyyy”.

I read the first few chapters and I’ve been putting off writing a post because I didn’t want it to be just another growth mindset blog post. Johnston writes about two belief system frames and he labels them “Dynamic-Learning Frame” and “Fixed-Performance Frame”.  I’ve heard and read a lot about these frames, and I’ve known them as “Growth Mindset” and “Fixed Mindset”.  If they’re not the same, they’re very similar.

Anyways, like I said, I was struggling with how to write about this in a new light or how to authentically connect it to my life and I wasn’t feeling very creative.  Then this week happened.  Now, my kids were great this week!  It was our final week of quarter three.  We had a lot of assessments, wrap up projects, and sickness in our room.  My students were kind to one another, wishing them well, helping each other, and presenting some really kick-a ideas!  They earned a million dojo points and were just overall top notch.  That’s how we roll, other than the last week I posted about, when WE had a rough patch.  However, it was really nice having fun learning with them this week.

That being said, I had several meetings and consultations with my colleagues this week. Being at a new school, I really like to get as much information about how things are done there, while still being true to myself and not completely abandoning what I know and do.  After one of these meetings I left with a very uneasy feeling.  I went home and reflected on the meeting, reflected on previous meetings in regards to the same subject and became so frustrated.  My mind had changed on its own about a very sensitive issue and I wasn’t sure how I felt.

The next day at school I was confiding (read venting) to one of my favorite colleagues and I said, “I feel like I’ve been two-faced.  Like I’ve said one thing and now I am feeling another way.  I feel like I’ve over-stepped and now that I’m taking a step back I don’t like that I have to go back on my previous statements.I don’t want to be seen as a liar.”  She asked me something along the lines of, “Jaymie, what’s changed between now and then?” –Blank stares– “You’ve gotten more information.  This is the growth mindset.  It’s not two-faced, wishy-washy, or any of those things.  You had an opinion and a feeling, then you got more information, and your opinions and feelings are changing based on what you’ve learned.  This is good.  It may not mean that the other person grows with the new information. That’s the problem when we don’t all have a growth mindset”  –Mouth drop–

This conversation was everything that I had been reading in Opening Minds. This conversation was everything that I thought I already knew.  Again, I went home and reflected, and the frustration dissolved into feelings of “Doyyy”!  I understand and realize that I can’t go back in time and change the statements that I’ve made or the things that I once strongly felt in my heart, however, I shouldn’t feel guilty for not feeling the same now.  I did indeed gather immense data and information that I learned from.

Due to these reflections, I have decided to preface any similar conversations with the phrase, “Based on what I know right now…” or “Right now I feel/think… however, if new data or information presents itself…” or, “I need to gather more information…”

Changing your mind, especially in education, shouldn’t make you feel guilty.  You shouldn’t feel bound to one idea, one program, one teaching style if you’ve grown in another direction.  Learning new things changes you… if you let it.

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3 comments

  1. Wow I love this! You are inspiring me to preface my ideas with “as of right now” or “at this mornent, I think…”. What at awesome experience to have your coworker working through some of the ideas we are reading in Opening Minds! I think that is so powerful in that not only do students need to develop that mindset or even teachers in relation to students but teachers as individuals as well. We are learners just as much as our students! Thanks for this post Jaymie! You have a way of articulating your thoughts in an authentic and honest way. That helps me to think things through even more than I have on my own!

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  2. Love, love, love this! What a smart coworker and what a great time in the year to have that advice. You and I connect on many levels and, like you, being at a new school and experiencing new things has made me question a few opinions that I have held previously. I love how eloquently and with such conviction that your coworker explained how changing opinions isn’t flip-flopping, but instead coming to a more informed decision. We are allowed to change opinions and gathering of evidence likely will, and should, alter/strengthen/change our thoughts. Thank you for writing of how this is ok and good for us as learners! Like Lisa, I love how you prefaced your thinking with “at the moment” or “as of right now.” What a strong message to send your coworkers and students, that you are constantly on the lookout for better information to strengthen your practices. What a commendable trait in a teacher! Way to go, my friend!

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  3. Jaymie, this is my favorite post yet. My PLT has always been lock-step when it comes to planning. Since two of us have started grad school, we have been embracing change. Other PLT members don’t feel the same way. It has taken us awhile to find our rhythm again because there was some uneasiness about doing different things. I have been so busy thinking about the growth mindset in children, that I haven’t stopped to think about it from an adult perspective! This makes me want to go back to my teaching philosophy that I wrote as student teacher and see how much has changed between then and now. I love the way you think Jaymie, thanks for sharing!

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