Updated: May 10, 2020
Our mindset is the basic building block of our success story. Or at least that's what I believe.
Before I became an educator, my mindset was completely predisposed to believe that I could do anything. Well, that's what I said out loud. Inside my head there was a totally different conversation happening. In my head, I kept telling myself I was good enough, but there was another voice screaming louder that I wasn't. I just could not seem to see past my insecurities and failures.
My second year teaching, I was exposed to Mindset:The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. My principal recommended I join a book study to help me grow as an educator. (Cue stubborn side here). Of course, I agreed with excitement to join, but deep down I had no intention of doing so. I didn't think it pertained to me. Fast forward 5 years later, and I am being asked once again to open the pages of the book. (The book is still in the same place it was 5 years ago, BTW.) This time, I'll read it. - that's what I'm telling myself.
As I turn the pages of the book, my little yellow highlighter anxiously awaits the chance to run across another poignant message. There is so much irony sprawled across the pages of this book it is almost nauseating. In my classroom, I always teach about the Aha! experience and how important it is in filmmaking to embrace those moments when they arise. I never would have guessed that I was teaching about having a growth mindset, but I wasn't practicing what I teach. That's when it hit me.
My Own Personal Aha! Moment.
I started to think about my childhood hero. Michael Jordan. I thought about his skills as a baller, his ability to inspire the masses every time his fingertips graced a ball, or his feet left the ground as he took flight towards the rim. And that's when it hit me. He wasn't supposed to become the Michael Jordan we loved. His coaches said he wasn't good enough to make his high school basketball team. People told him who he was, but he didn't listen. He didn't throw in the towel, blame others for his shortcomings, or give up. He didn't allow his mindset to be fixed based on the beliefs of others, or his lack of success at that time.
He pushed himself. He worked harder. He made changes. He embraced failure. He took an ordinary story and made it extraordinary. He mastered a growth mindset before turning 18.
My students deserve a teacher who understands the importance of a growth mindset and knows how to develop that mindset in others. Throughout the Apple Coding Initiative, I have been challenged and pushed to come out of my comfort zone and to work on truly having a growth mindset in all areas of my life. Not just in the classroom, but in my personal life, too.
Growth Mindset - Innovation Plan
I am accepting that I do not have to have all of the answers as long as I have the mindset to continually keep trying to find ways to solves the problems in front of me one step at a time. That mindset is critical to the success of my innovation plan. My plan, as perfectly laid out as it may seem, will always have room for improvement. Changes in new technology, student learning objectives, educational needs and unforeseen obstacles will always find a way to disrupt my plans, but if I prepare my mind for that in advance, I will be able to face the challenges head on and offer innovative solutions versus stagnant concepts.
Having an innovation plan - isn't enough. Having the determination to make it work - isn't enough. Having the desire to help students and fellow teachers get their hands on new technology - isn't enough. Having a deep passion to take innovative ideas and turn them into solid learning experiences for an entire district - isn't enough. Nothing will ever feel like it's enough, but I refuse to do nothing.
Work hard. Believe in yourself and others. Follow your heart. Fight for something because it is the right thing to do. Get knocked down but jump back up. Fail a hundred times just to get it right once. Never take no for an answer if you know a yes can make a difference. Take an ordinary day and make it extraordinary.
That's my growth mindset.