Every day I feel like I’m learning something from my students. Today we were painting and I watched one of my kids very carefully plan out what she wanted to do. And then make a mistake. If that had been me, at home, on my on painting, there would have been recriminations. I would have ragged on myself for hours about what a talentless hack I am. No, my two year olds don’t have that kind of vocabulary, but they are fully capable of getting upset or angry. But instead of being angry, this little girl saw her mistake and embraced it.
We have to learn to be hard on ourselves. In all my years of teaching, I’ve never seen a little one that was naturally hard on him-or-her-self. I’ve learned the lesson of how terrible I can be quite well in the last thirty years and I’ve forgotten that sense of amazement my kids show me every day- the awe of “Ms. Tina! I did it!” that I hear from them. I don’t record my successes in my head. I record my failures. And the accumulated pile of failures is what I normally learn my lessons from, instead of learning from my achievements the way my kids do.