The Art of Perpetual Self-Improvement for Teachers
Self-improvement is an ongoing journey — a continuous climb. As we’ve discussed so far, it’s about reflecting, evaluating, adapting. It’s breaking down goals into manageable tasks. Constantly bringing yourself back to your main focus. And being aware and mindful in the present moment.
But why do all this work? What’s the point?
You improve to become the best possible version of yourself. You do it for self-satisfaction and fulfillment. And you do it for everyone whose lives you touch on a daily basis. Your students. Your family. Your goldfish.
Become a rock solid leader in and out of the classroom.
Strong leadership relies on self-improvement. With great power comes great responsibility. And in this case, that responsibility lies within your self-awareness and willingness to strive for more. Before you can successfully lead other people, you must first be able to effectively lead yourself. Challenge yourself. Motivate yourself. Grow and evolve yourself. You know — check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Here are some key things to keep in mind on your continual journey of self-improvement and development.
Be honest with yourself.
It’s important to take a look in the mirror daily and reflect. What’s working about your life? What’s great about who you are and the effort you’re putting in? Where could you still improve? What are some specific things you should be working on? What are you having difficulty with?
Being too easy on yourself will only hurt you and keep you from your goals. And getting your emotions involved will just turn simple observation to judgment — the great catalyst to shutting down. Your best bet is to try to adopt an objective outlook when assessing yourself and your progress. Full blown honesty is definitely the best policy.
Ask for help.
Part of being honest is knowing when to ask for help. Put your pride aside and speak up. There’s no respect in staying on a sinking ship when there’s a life raft right in front of you.
Welcome feedback and accept critique.
Self-improvement relies on feedback from a trusted source. You need a system of checks and balances outside of yourself to keep you on the right path. Seek out any comments or critique from people whose opinion you value. Think of this information as a valuable gift. And use it to improve.
Speak kindly to yourself.
Treat yourself the way you’d want to be treated. It’s easy to be hard on yourself, but it’s counterproductive. Speak kindly to yourself. Negative self-talk crushes your momentum and your spirit.
Being open to new things — ideas, practices, people — is critical to self-improvement. Think about it: how would you ever learn or grow if you were never exposed to anything new? It’s what stretches us, challenges us. Be intentional about change. Get excited about it. And leverage it for your best self.
Surround yourself with the best.
It’s important to keep good company. A support system of thinkers, doers, and achievers who are smart and able will keep you motivated and at the top of your game. It really is lonely at the top. Make sure there’s always someone to look up to.
A thankful heart is a happy heart. When you look at the world through gratitude-tinted lenses, life is more enjoyable. The little things don’t weigh you down nearly as much. And you become more open to whatever life puts in your path.
Soak up knowledge.
Read books, articles, blog posts (go ahead and pat yourself on the back) and whatever else you can get your hands on. Continually educating yourself is an excellent form of self-improvement.
By keeping these tips top of mind, and weaving them into your day to day, you’ll be sure to forever stay on your toes, ready for next-level success and prepared to have a maximum impact on the world.