Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #106
Do you have an innovator’s mindset? Here are the 8 characteristics of the innovator’s mindset.
This one is tough for me. Two years ago I had one student who went out of her way to really deliver some unkind feedback in a most unkind way.
It stung. It angered me.
I talked with colleagues and I met with Shane.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the class was just not for her.
She was a very talented writer – and wasn’t shy about telling others that too – and I wasn’t pushing her as hard as I could.
There is truth to that. I wrote her a note in response to her criticism saying that my attitude was that while she was a gifted writer, I had several students who were not nearly as gifted, and I had a larger obligation to help them.
She was writing at a college level already. They were not. They simply needed my attention more.
I told her that while she accused me of neglecting her and slacking, she wasn’t there to notice how I worked with a student for 45 minutes to fix his verb tenses and to craft an interesting introduction to his definition essay.
Once I expressed that, I was able to bounce back. But the criticism still stung. I need to be more resilient – not deaf, though – in the face of criticism.
I also need to remember a lesson I heard via Entreleadership. A young CEO was explaining how criticism was a gift. Once – as a child – he’d been given some harsh criticism from his youth minister.
His feelings were hurt and he told his grandmother.
His grandmother grabbed a pecan and handed it to him, asking him if he’d eat that pecan as it was.
The boy said, no. It would hurt going in and coming out.
His grandmother said, well, that is just like criticism. If you get past the hard shell – and she said this as she was peeling the pecan – you get to the food inside.
She continued saying that criticism was a gift. Once you got beyond the hard shell, you had something valuable.
After hearing that, I made peace with the students’ criticism. Now I try to devote more time to my most excellent writers too. Though I am more open with them that my job is to get everyone to write at a college level and often that requires me to spend a lot of time with my weakest writers.