So much of what I try to do, professionally and personally, stems from a perceived lack. This perception typically has its origins in other people- the things people tell me about myself that have been reinforced, over and over again, for decades. Lately, I’ve had some great luck in having those perceptions shaken up.
I took a class this fall, for professional development. I thought it would behoove me to improve my grammar, as that was where I felt I was weakest. Why did I feel this way? Well, the last year of trying to teach it definitely showed some gaps in my education. So I jumped headfirst into a syntax class, which felt like “grad-school light.” It was hard, and I earned an A (although it wasn’t the A I wanted). When discussing the course with another student, she asked what I taught. When I told her English, she said, “Oh, you seem really familiar with grammar.” And I must be a true English teacher, because someone complimenting my grammar warmed me right up.
As another example, in a one-on-one with my principal today, she noted my organization, and my willingness to engage in conflict (not confrontation, not aggression; just a determination to do what needs to be done). These are both areas I’ve made specific efforts to improve, because they’re also areas in which I don’t feel particularly strong. It’s so nice to know that my efforts of compensation are working, and being noticed.
That said, maybe it’s time to reevaluate myself, and eliminate some new weaknesses. And what about you? Any areas of your life you’re compensating for? Any improvements you’d like to share?