Can we in good conscience paint this portrait of perfection for ourselves when, as good educators, we encourage our own students to grow into their potential? As passionate teachers, or any professional committed to their career, we are always holding the bar at least one rung higher. Our inner critic won't think of reflecting on what is going really well, unless of course we have achieved the voluminous 4; maybe a 3 (i.e. 'meeting expectations'). Certainly we should set our professional aspirations and expectations to a high level; we set high standards for our students. But do we expect all, or even most of our students, to be at a 3 or 4 when they are learning a brand new skill or building skill in a particular area?
Of course not. We expect commitment and best effort, but we aim for growth over time. This growth includes trial and error, even failure. The most important element is the willingness to go back to the drawing board and try again. If our students do so enough times, they'll inevitably grow. So will we. We should aim to try and model or represent this commitment and resilience through our own practices.
As teachers, we'll always have areas of practice that come more naturally to us, our strong points. If we are honest and open to our authentic potential, we'll have plenty of room for growth in other areas, novice and veteran alike. We are not so dissimilar from those closest to us - our students. We hope against hope that few to none of our days are at a '1', but we'll invariably have the '2' days and the '3' days. Once in a while, we'll even have a *4* day; those days will resonate and will shine a light on all the others, a product of concerted effort and intention. I'd love to bask in a '4' day, but I can't shield or hide from the lesser days.
I must embrace them all, take them all in, but not let any individual one define who I am as a teacher. Over time, through reflection and awareness, I know I'll learn to fully appreciate even the 2's, for the lessons they teach me and the potential paths they pave for my future efforts. At the heart of the practice, our efforts are less about our success and more about supporting the success of our students. If we put this thought as the leader and follow with awareness, we are 98 and 3/4% guaranteed to succeed in the eyes of those who matter most.