I. Teachers demonstrate leadership. · II. Teachers establish a respectful environment for a diverse population of students. · IV. Teachers facilitate learning for their students. · V. Teachers reflect on their practice.

Mindset- Theirs and Mine

It’s amazing how mindset – a single word and concept – can be detrimental to teaching and learning, but can also be the reason for teacher and student success. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on mindset, how it affects success, and how teacher and student mindsets also affect one another.

My mindset- that of the educator:

Working many hours outside of the 8 hour day, taking the time to connect to a PLN of other educators, voluntary PD, educational reading and book studies by choice – all signs of an educator who is continuing as a learner, and consequently, an educator with the right mindset.  For some, dedicating extra time throughout the week to plan, share, and learn is a priority; but for others, these things are just “more to add to the plate.” So what’s the difference between the teacher volunteering extra time to learn and the teacher who refers to these same actions as “too much” or “overwhelming”? It’s a mindset.

Just to clarify, there are times that any job can become overwhelming; and teachers definitely experience this feeling at times throughout the school year. But when “overwhelming” turns into an excuse to avoid risk-taking, that’s when it becomes more of a mindset issue. My own mindset has been transforming from the beginning of my journey in education. To give a small example, when I started my student teaching over 3 years ago, I remember being initially surprised there was a weekly grade-level planning time (boy, did I have a lot to learn)…I assumed that teachers who had been teaching a while would just use last year’s plans to get them through each week. Those thoughts reflected my current mindset: not only did I have so much to learn about the importance of collaborative planning, but these thoughts also revealed my thinking that teachers could dedicate less time and effort to the job if they just re-used the same plans each year. Finding ways to save time can be very valuable for educators, but again, should not be an excuse to deny your students of the experience they deserve. Reflecting now and having learned so much since carrying those initial misconceptions, it’s scary to think where students today would be if we all just used “last year’s plans” every year. Sadly though, this detrimental mindset does exist; and there are teachers in our own district and beyond teaching today’s students with yesterday’s lessons and tools.

A big part of what has helped transform my own mindset over the years are other inspiring teachers and leaders constantly striving to #becomebetter. Educators are more likely to think and act with a growth, learner’s mindset when they are inspired by a leader who has one. The amount of hours we put in doesn’t define our mindset, but our thinking, along with the questions we ask ourselves, do. Every educator out there should be able to explain the steps they are taking to continue learning, and if not, then how do you expect your students to be a learner in your classroom?

So are we satisfied where we are now, or are we dedicating time to become better for our kids?

Their mindset- that of the learner:

The learner’s mindset is related to and affected by the teacher’s mindset. If you’re bored with a lesson, they probably are too. If you’re doubting your students’ ability to successfully reach your expectations, they probably are too. If you aren’t taking risks and learning more, why should they take risks and learn more? We have to model the mindset we want for our students. When teachers inspire a classroom culture of joy and innovation, combined with a strong sense of community where “mistakes” are part of the process, a growth mindset for learners will start to take shape.

I’m open with my students when I’m taking a risk with an activity they’re working on. And at the end of the lesson, after asking them to personally reflect on how it went, I often share my own “teacher” reflection with them: What went well with the lesson from my perspective? What surprised me? What would I do differently if I were going to teach this lesson again? In being transparent with my kinders, I’ve seen an increase in student self-esteem and less fear of making mistakes in the classroom. By modeling my own truthful reflections, I’ve also seen more honesty when they reflect on their success with a lesson.

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We all have someone along the way who helps inspire this mindset within us. Even as educators, we look to leaders who model this type of mindset. It is my hope that each day as I strive to model this mindset, I will inspire my students to take risks and become better too.

7 thoughts on “Mindset- Theirs and Mine

  1. Nathalie,
    I loved this post! You are so spot on with everything you wrote! I especially liked the comparison you made with wanting to continue to learn and grow and feeling overwhelmed. Your growth/learner mindset is so evident in your classroom. I feel very lucky to be part of your journey.
    Chris

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, Nathalie. I like how your mindset clearly distinguishes between #lifelonglearning and being over-whelmed. This hits home to every educator. I believe every educator feels the temptation to be negative from time to time, and I like your mindset clarification. So much to unpack, here. Several of your quotes could be central themes for future reflections (blogs). I especially like:

    –“It’s scary to think where students today would be if we all just used “last year’s plans” every year.”
    –“The amount of hours we put in doesn’t define our mindset, but our thinking, along with the questions we ask ourselves, do.”
    –“If you’re doubting your students’ ability to successfully reach your expectations, they probably are too.”
    –“We have to model the mindset we want for our students.”

    I like how you wrote from the heart, sharing your authentic journey.
    Keep it coming, Nathalie. Your #KindersCAN vision is contagious.
    Sincerely,
    Kyle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kyle, thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond so thoughtfully! I think you’re right- there are so many “sub-topics” within the topic of mindset…I’m excited to continue thinking and reflecting on those thoughts. Your prioritiy for #lifelonglearning is inspiring, and its educators like you who have really helped me grow in my journey!

      Like

  3. Great post, Nathalie! I continually am impressed with your growth not only in blogging but as an educator as well. You’ve really taken the mindset movement and run with it. Powerful. Love the Brad Currie quote you framed the post around essentially — so fitting and spot on just like this post. Kudos. You’re rocking! KOKO. -Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Brendan!! Your kind words and encouragement mean so much. Yes- I came across the Brad Currie quote in the midst of reflecting and thought it perfectly summarized the theme of the post. Thanks for always modeling a learner’s mindset and what it means to take risks as an educator. I am inspired by the example that you set.

      Liked by 1 person

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