Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's got to beeeeee PERFECT!

I read an article recently from The Daily Cafe called 'Healthy Striving' which really resonated with me.  As I move closer to the finishing date with CORE Education and my starting day at Cobham Intermediate I have been thinking about the kind of practitioner I am and more importantly, want to be.

I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist but I will admit to taking on an overwhelming amount of tasks in my professional life because I want them done a certain way, in a certain timeframe and if reflecting honestly, I believe I can do the job well and to a high standard.  Arrogance and perfectionism all rolled up in one perhaps?

The statement about how healthy striving asks "How can I improve?" while perfectionism asks "What will people think?" was interesting - do I consciously or unconsciously work a certain way to please others (make them happy, receive praise etc) or rather to improve my practice and become a better educator?  If you are asking yourself that same question right now, I wonder if you came to the same conclusion I did!  It made me a little melancholy too when I went on to read that perhaps "perfectionism not only hampers success, but robs us of pleasure, because we can never measure up to impossible standards".  I agree with this statement and also believe that where there is a culture of perfectionism,  you will usually find a culture of high stress!

So following on from my previous post, how do you decrease workload and stress for teachers?  Obviously, my key learnings from reading the 'Healthy Striving' article is that we shouldn't be aiming for perfection.  We should be constantly working through that process of setting goals, reflecting often, tweaking the failures (often where all the learning happens) and celebrating the successes.  We don't have to live up to the expectations of others and we also shouldn't put those expectations on ourselves.  Let's strive for being perfectly imperfect and know that all our imperfections make us special and unique...just like all those blessed kids in our classrooms!   This will lead us to understanding that we have the power to control our learning, our growth and our teaching.  

Effective teachers don't demand perfectionism from their students all the time, we simply keep asking our kids "How can you improve?"  My challenge to you all, is to make sure that this is your mantra as well!


  1. Oh Tamara, what a fabulous post! What a pleasure to spend your last day at CORE with you today and celebrate in style tonight! And what joy it wasn't a perfect night... but pretty near!!!
    So many sentiments ring true for me in your post! Perfectionism can and does indeed rob us of so many things. Balance that with the need to do things well and improve... I will follow your journey with enthusiasm and interest! May it be a journey of fun as well as improvement and challenge!

    1. Kia ora Anne my special friend! Thanks for you reply, I am so grateful for your positive feedback, especially since you are one of my blogging gurus who inspired me and help me to get this going. I will miss working with you so closely this year but I know I will still catch up with you often - keep on being fab! x

  2. Kapai cuz good discussion and informative. I've had those discussions wirh myself. I've. Learnt to step baxk and I'm feeling overwealmed, I remove the added.workload.

    1. Kia ora e te whanaunga, thanks for your comment. I have no doubt in your busy life you have had these conversations too as you said. I love seeing all your photos of you out swimming, kayaking and/or gathering kaimoana - it clearly shows you have a great work-life balance and your connection with our whenua and moana no doubt help to keep you sane through all your inspiring academic study, lecturing & achievements. You are a great role model cuzzie!