I reflect on my teaching practices in order to make new commitments to improve these so that they are better aligned with my belief system and not someone else’s. Alternatively, I recommit to continuing or extending a routine or habit that has worked well or that I know is beneficial to learning. This recommitment issue is the one I want to address in this post, particularly as it refers to my personal growth as a writer, a blogger, and a learner. I have lately become aware of the true meaning of doing what’s necessary before doing what’s pleasurable. Not that I want to be all about business and nothing about play. Quite the contrary; it’s about recognizing priorities and what’s important to do for one’s growth, both emotional and intellectual. So, as often as I have in the past committed to writing every day, much in the same way that I read every day, I have just as often given it up for lack of time, lack of paper, lack of ideas, and/or lack of confidence that what I have to say is worth saying. So, here I am recommitting to slicing weekly as one way to continue ruminating on my teaching philosophy and practices. I am hopeful that this community of bloggers will keep me honest and nudge me along as I try to build this writing habit. Back to this idea of doing what’s necessary before doing what you like or is pleasurable. At another iteration of my life I would have scoffed at this idea. What do you mean do what’s necessary? I think it should all be about pleasure, joy, happiness. And, yes, these are important but they don’t always get me anywhere I want to go. I am not talking about a deadline or a goalpost, necessarily. What I am talking about is knowing what I want to do – improve as a writer, for example – and do what it takes to get there. This isn’t always a pleasurable or easy task. It takes time, energy, and even self-doubt but it is worth it in the end. And, the end is what I need to keep in view. Then, what seems like an effort now will become less so the more I do it. I talk about this with my students all the time, now: if you want to get better at reading then you have to put in the time it takes get better at reading by reading all the time. If you want to learn more Spanish then you have to listen more carefully, take risks using the language, and have a certain amount of faith that the time you have invested will result in a positive outcome. They get this because the results are almost immediate. And, guess what? It’s a pleasurable feeling after all! That’s it. It’s all good.
4 thoughts on “Commitments”
There is a quote that I keep on a sticky on my desktop. Your post today reminds me of it. “If you want something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done before.” I agree that doing what is necessary may not always be pleasurable, but if we are patient, we know that the doing will lead us to the ending (or closure) we wish to have. I'm glad you shared your thinking here, & that you also discuss this with students. I imagine it makes a rich conversation and helps students dig a little deeper about their lives. Thanks!
Love that quote especially because it reminds us that we need to remember that what happened in the past is over and done with, so to speak. We need to look at the here and now; everybody deserves another chance.
For some reason, the comment I tried to post on Tuesday didn't work so I will try again. I like that you are making a commitment to yourself to write. This isn't easy. Carving out the time means that time spent doing other things will be reduced. I admire your recommitment and I look forward to reading your words and offering support. 🙂
I'm glad you resent your post; I didn't get it the first time :). Yes, I have been working on prioritizing all of the different things that I do so that what's most important stays near the top. Writing is important to me but I keep putting it off for fear that I don't have much that is worthwhile saying or all that I can say has already been said. This has been part of my block with my doctoral proposal. I am a master at procrastinating and then having to do things at the last minute or asking for extensions, sometimes without permission. That's very stressful and not a great way to live in general. I think the important thing is to figure out what I want to get as a result of doing the work and then just hunkering down and doing it! Thanks for the support.