Monday, December 22, 2014

You Can Do Better

striveIn The Danger of “Good Enough” from Bud the Teacher  Bud Hunt asks,

“And I wonder what it is that pushes you, me, or anyone to move beyond good enough.  What are the factors and forces, aside from sheer will and determination and downright stubbornness, that will move a person or a group past “good enough” and towards “better than ever” or “continuous improvement” or “let’s nuke this whole thing and start over?”  How do we move organizations, and ourselves, beyond “good enough” in the places and situations where that matters most?”

This reminds me of growing up in a house where it was expected that everyone should do their best. If I came home with a B, my parents wanted to know why I didn’t do enough to get an A. When I got an A-, my parents wanted to know why I didn’t get an A or A+. It was never good enough. If I finally got an A+, I expected lavish praise and instead was told that it was good and expected. It frustrated me a lot when I was in school but now as an adult and a parent, I can see it from my parent’s perspective. They wanted me to do better. They wanted me to do my best and they knew that I was capable of better work and would get lazy. Many times I did work that was just good enough.

Maybe I need to raise my expectations in the classroom. I need to expect my students to do their best and shouldn’t let them get by with just doing what is good enough. But, as a teacher, I get lazy and tired of pushing and shoving my students in the right direction. Yet, isn’t that my job? If I don’t, am I doing my best? It is so much nicer taking the easy road and letting students get by with good enough. Everyone seems happy. The parents are happy their child is passing and the student is happy with getting a passing grade. But is the student living up to their potential? Am I showing the student how much better they can be?

Learning what constitutes good enough or my best was an important lesson for me. I know when I’m giving something my all without anyone judging me. In my heart, I judge myself. I want my students to be able to judge themselves in the same way.

I see this same attitude in teachers. Many teachers just want to do what is good enough and collect their pay check. You know who they are and they know who they are. Even the students know who they are. But the system can’t do anything about them because they aren’t doing anything wrong. They are doing the bare minimum of what is expected. Then maybe it is time to expect more of these teachers. The hard working committed teachers are the ones giving 200% and dread the thought of the system expecting more. But maybe if the system expected more, the work load would be more evenly distributed and the best teachers wouldn’t be giving 200% and getting burned out!

So, in answer to Bud’s question, I am a pretty self-motivated person. I know when I’m not doing my best and it really motivates me to do better. I guess my parents did a good job raising me!

What motivates you to do better? Please share.

Image: 'Striving for success without hard work'
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