As we delve deeper into the EHE course work the idea of self-reflection and identifying the mistakes of our past seem to be floating just below the surface of our new knowledge. Sometimes this self-reflection ignites the spark of change and pushes us to do better because we now know better, but sometimes this self-reflection brings with it some harsh realities. Parents and educators have all said or done something they are not proud of…because we are human and humans make mistakes. A challenge arises, however, when we must admit that our misstep may have had a greater negative impact on the children in our care. With this realization we have the choice to forgive ourselves for not knowing any better and rejoice in our new found knowledge, or we can choose to ignore the facts, dig our heels in deep and commit to the way we have always done things. If our or our colleagues’ opinion sounds similar to the following:
- My parents raised me that way and I turned out okay.
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
- Why bother changing it now when they will only decide to change it again?
It may be time to really look at why you decided to work with children at such critical points in their development.
The truth is, if we identify ourselves as teachers then we must also identify as learners. And with that comes the responsibility to change the way we have always done it and work to embrace new techniques and tools as we add them to our tool belts. The true challenge comes when we need the support of our family, friends, and colleagues and they cower or turn away from our new approaches because they too must choose the path of self-reflection and self-forgiveness. In these moments it is important that we begin to surround ourselves with allies and supports. Not only must we learn how to do better we must extend ourselves outside of our comfort zones and seek out supports and individuals who are also rising to this challenge. It is only then will we begin to bring about the changes that can have lasting positive impact on the children we care for.