I find it interesting when my daily conversations and activities begin to align in an unforeseen pattern. Maybe it is because I am older in years and having slowed down quite a bit, I am more observant, or perhaps it is because I have had it happen over and over enough that I begin to recognize it when it occurs.
I will give you an example. Something was mentioned in a zoom training session on Friday afternoon that was tossing around in my mind as our pastor, Brother Cecil, touched on something Sunday that sparked what was mentioned in the training. And when I got home and called a friend, she shared with me what her Sunday school class covered, and it all fell into place.
I was sitting at my desk interacting in a zoom conversation when a fellow Instructional Coach talked about "the power of yet" with our teachers and students. As educators we know that we are students first, so I immediately began analyzing what this power of yet could mean to me.
Later I was sitting in church when our pastor basically challenged us to face the inevitability of change as a positive tool to becoming a better person. This immediately brought me back to that conversation of not being there "yet" which is what many people are beginning to understand as a "growth mindset."
And later that evening my friend was eager to share with me what her Sunday school class covered, using autumn as a metaphor. She explained that in the fall the leaves shed and nature seems to slow down and slough off the old slowly sinking into a hibernation of self- discovery so that when the spring arrives the changes come forward, renewed stronger, brighter, and more vivid. This metaphor was equated to all the mini autumns in our lives.
Carol S. Dweck has a great presentation on Ted Talk called "The Power of Yet." She has studied students of various grades for years on this concept. In one study she gave a math problem to a group of 4th grade students that was a bit harder than grade level. A percentage of the students who struggled found it to be a positive challenge that excited them. These students were considered to have a "growth mindset" while a larger percentage of students gave up or shut down in some way. These students were explained to have a "fixed mindset" being gripped in the frustrations of "now."
These children reported they would likely cheat if given a similar task again to avoid failure and others reported they would seek out somebody who did as poorly as or worse than they did, so they would not feel like a failure.
Believe it or not, we all live out our lives in a classroom. We never really graduate. Every day we face new challenges that are a bit beyond our comfort zone. Struggles that feel more difficult than we are prepared to process. We fall into bad habits and form excuses to cheat or find friends who share the same habits so we don't feel so bad about ourselves.
What if we took the advice we now realize we must give our students and accept that with every new day and challenge we might not be there "yet" and that is ok. I guess the knowing comes in the growing and that cannot happen for people who consider themselves already grown. So, here's to autumn!