I said...I'm possible not impossible!
“The word impossible literally says I’m possible.” I cannot take credit for that phrase, but I’m not sure who exactly said it. What I do know is this is what I think of when I think of a growth mindset. Impossible, who? Impossible, nothing!
In retrospect, I think it would’ve been beneficial for me to take this course as one of my first courses for the program. The first eight weeks were a struggle. I rode that struggle bus and named it hot mess express. It was hard! BUT not impossible! It did take me awhile to work through the struggle and figure out how I was going to make this possible, but once I told myself that I could do it, it made it easier. I don’t mean the work was easier; I mean my mindset was in a better place and I knew I was fully capable of accomplishing the tasks that lied ahead.
Depending on what mindset I’m in determines how I take feedback or feed forward. Now, I know, I know! I just spent the whole paragraph above saying I’m this changed person and am embracing the yet...but I’m also human. I have days where I hear feedback and I think, “I gave everything I possibly could and you’re still not happy?!” That isn’t a growth mindset and I think it makes me a better person knowing I am able to see that and call myself out on it. I’ve learned to accept the “criticism”( in a fixed mindset that’s how I view it) and then come back and revisit the comments when I’m ready to be an open and willing participant in my own learning.
I started reading Mindset before class started and I have been taking small bits of the information and working it into my everyday life in hopes that I will one day be the walking, talking, living, breathing form of Dweck’s book. I started praising my son for his process, not his results. I was the parent who said, “You made a 100. Whoop, whoop! Let’s hang it on the fridge!” I didn’t take into consideration what it took to get him there. I did not see nor try to understand his process. I simply saw the grade and said, “Good job!” What if he cheated to get that 100? Would I still be hanging that paper up on the fridge? Heck no! But that’s what I was telling him, without actually telling him.
I’ve tried to work harder at praising him for his process. For example, every week he does “cold reads” and “hot reads” with a short story that his teacher gives him. A hot read is one that he practices daily. I stopped praising him on doing well on those because well he should do well on them. We’re reading them daily, multiple times a day; he’s supposed to do good. I started praising him on his cold reads, instead. I started saying, “Way to improve on those cold reads. I know they’re tougher because you don’t get to bring them home and practice, but you’re still improving.” One day he finally replied, “I’ve been sounding out the words and slowing down when I read so I do better and get faster.” I just about cried, y’all! I didn’t expect him to have that reply. He was able to explain his thought process and tell me why it was working. He’s seven...I didn’t think that was possible. I am continuing this within my classroom and with myself.
One syllable word. Three letters. It will change your life.