Accepting Criticism

I am starting my first full week of teaching and planning of student teaching! It’s hard to believe that I’m already four weeks into this!

A huge lesson that I am learning while student teaching is to understand I don’t know everything. A strength and a weakness that I have is that I’m a perfectionist on certain things. It’s a strength because it means I do well on many things. However, it’s a weakness because I feel if I don’t do something well, then I failed, even if I didn’t.

I planned a lesson and taught it yesterday. In my definition, it failed. It didn’t seem as engaging as I expected and my students didn’t seem to care. But realistically, the lesson didn’t fail. We met the objective and the standard. My students probably have a better understanding of the concept and are ready for the next day and this week in general.

One thing that I have struggled with as a result of being a perfectionist is that I don’t always take criticism well. Even if it’s not, I feel it as a personal attack.

But honestly, I’m working on it, but it’s still something I can improve. I remind myself that I get criticism because people want me to do better. My cooperating teacher doesn’t want me to fail student teaching. So he gives me advice of things that will help me in the long run. I may not like it immediately, but I know I will be better for it. In fact, after school yesterday (and during my prep) I was inspired and motivated to make my lesson better. Honestly, I think it worked. I feel better about the lesson (I’m writing this before I teach it).

A huge thing that has helped me accept criticism is seeing that it actually helps. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a lot more confident in my teaching abilities. A lot of that has come because I’ve had to accept criticism. That’s part of growing up, maturing, and becoming an adult. You have to accept that you don’t know everything. People can have more knowledge than you. You’re allowed to be wrong. As a perfectionist, that’s one of the hardest things I have had to learn. But it’s true. Be confident in who you are and what you know, but accept you don’t know everything.

Criticism is never easy, but done right, it can be one of the most helpful things. I’m getting better in life because people provide feedback and ways to improve. I have people in my life who will call me out and criticize a harmful behavior, and I’m so grateful for them. It’s not easy, but I’m working on it.

As always, I don’t know your story. Maybe you take criticism really well. Maybe you don’t. I just tell you what I experience. My life isn’t perfect and I don’t pretend that it is. But acknowledging my faults keeps me humble (and less like a perfectionist).

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