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Personal best - what does that mean for you?

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

"The real contest is striving to reach your personal best, and that is totally under your control.”

-John Wooden-

As a teacher, are you at your personal best?

When I first heard this question, my immediate thoughts were a bombardment of multi-leveled counter questions! From the defiant and offended student-ese response to the all-knowing, somewhat teacher-esque retort: Who's asking? Who cares? What does 'best' mean? Why does it matter? In which context? How can 'best' be measured? (to the more explicit version of "Who the h£ll are you to be asking me that?")

I guess my teenage-like rebel instincts probably meant that I had never really considered what my my personal best was or what it actually should be.

I have been consumed with creating lesson plans, activities, student worksheets, etc., finding suitable material, books, stories, songs, films, etc., and establishing good teacher-student relationships. And as valuable and vital these things are to my teaching and student learning, they say nothing about what my personal best is.

And what is disenchanting is that I don't know whether I have ever attempted to achieve my personal best or even know what that should be. Can you believe that!?! After 20+ years of teaching, such a basic concept has never been in the forefront of my teaching.

Oh, the epitome of hypocrisy! I expect my students to do their personal best, and yet, I have not actively been striving to reach MY personal best!

So, it's time to ditch the rebel attitude and be an example to my students, my colleagues, and myself!! It's time to define what my personal best is and to decide how I am going to achieve it!

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