Do not become the perfectionist of mediocrity… this is a statement I have grown to love and in some sense live by. I wasn’t always a so called ‘perfectionist’, in fact if you were to ask many of my teachers growing up, they would probably say the opposite. I wouldn’t always complete my school work and when I did, it was done to the bare minimum. I did enough to get by, that’s it. I made sure I achieved the marks I needed to please everyone, but nothing more. As you can probably tell, the truth is, I hated school. Sure I enjoyed socializing, physical education and recess... but school was boring! From what I can remember, we would sit in rows and do worksheet after worksheet, read a book and answer the questions. There hardly was a time when we discussed topics. Structure, structure, structure. Sound like fun to you?
As you can probably guess, teaching was not a likely career choice for myself. In fact, I remember my parents suggesting it to me when I was in grade twelve, and I laughed. I believe my response was, “Who would want to commit to that life sentence!” They tried to have a ‘discussion’ with me explaining all the positives; pay, pension, holidays etc. (note nothing about the actual work!) So why did I choose this as a career then? Honestly I owe it all to a girl. A fantastic one at that! During university, I continued my ‘do enough to get by’ mentality, until I met Susie. She grounded me. She made me look at things in a different light. She was a very determined hard worker who knew she wanted to help people and teaching made sense. So I followed, my then girlfriend, to teachers college because I didn't have a better plan. That’s the honest truth. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so figured why not get another degree and see where that takes me. So off I went to teacher's college.
Fast forward almost eight years and here I am writing a blog post about education (oh and that girl, Susie, is now my wife and mother of our beautiful daughter, Olivia.) I must say things have worked out pretty great. I have settled into becoming an educator and have even found a niche, helping with the integration of assistive technology for students with various exceptionalities. I have spent considerable time learning my craft and sharing that learning through Professional Development conferences and sessions. I enjoy helping others grow. I love helping those who continually strive to be better. Technology is ever changing in education, love it or hate it, technology is here to stay. We can no longer sit in our classrooms trying to hide from it. We as educators need to continue our education and evolve with the times. I do not expect everyone to become an expert overnight. I guess what I expect is this: educators should never ‘become the perfectionist of mediocrity’. Having this as our goal will hopefully also prevent our students from falling into the same "do enough to get by/hating school" mentality. It is not alright to just be ok! We need to grow just as our students do!
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- Jeffrey Humphries