I’ve been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and came across Rubin’s definition of happiness. One of the four requirements is growth.
I’m typically pretty happy, insanely so when I am in charge of a classroom that is working, but one of the underpinnings is not just when things are going well, but when I can feel that my attempts to learn something are bearing fruit.
When I put counters into kids’ hands so that they can tell me how many times I’ve repeated a new structure, or when I tell them I’m working on comprehension checks, or any other sub-skill that is important to helping language acquisition, I find myself growing and improving. Students will actually congratulate me on my progress. That feels great, but I think the main reason it’s satisfying is that I’ve identified a way to improve and can feel the results. Recent Freakonomics podcasts have stressed daily, specific practice to improve skills, adding another piece to my understanding about growth.
There’s much I can continue to apply in my own classes for my students, but I also feel strongly that if I am not growing, I am not as happy with myself. I’m excited for this summer, as I’m hoping to learn a lot: first from a “Teaching Online” class through Startalk, next from the iFLT and NTPRS conferences, and finally, from hanging out with my mom. She’s a wise lady, and I have not always taken advantage of what she can share.