Go around the brambles

With all the changes occurring in the field of education, it’s understandable that teachers feel overwhelmed. Common Core and new technology are enough to make an already stressful job even worse.

This is where the words of Marcus Aurelius can help:

The cucumber is bitter? Then throw is out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around. That’s all you need to know.

Is technology overwhelming you? Then use only what you feel comfortable using. Is Common Core stressing you out? Then teach the great lesson plans you’ve always taught and find one small way they relate to the new standards.

Life is all about perspective. Sometimes we construct anxiety needlessly. If we make small steps of progress and forget perfection, then we’ll find a certain amount of peace in tumultuous times.

P.S. All times are tumultuous–especially in education. 

Perfection is impossible

We’ve come to expect precision in everything we do and in every product we buy.

I want my phone to work whenever I need it. I want my movie to download when I order it. I want my Kindle to run correctly whenever I switch it on. My car should start whenever I turn the key.

Yes, this is all true. But no matter how exquisite the machinery, malfunctions inevitably occur, and we should expect them.

In a somewhat similar train of thought, humans are no different. If your goal is perfection, good luck. For us, in order to learn we must be imperfect. If we’re always perfect, we’re never learning because we’re not trying anything new. Art and creativity are messy, messy processes that require uncertainty and a willingness to venture into the unknown–a place that has no room for perfection.