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C10P26 Embracing Darkness

C10P26 Embracing Darkness published on 10 Comments on C10P26 Embracing DarknessPurchase

I think I need a little more Dream Eater philosophy in my own life.  I hate feeling ignorant and have very little patience for the learning process.  I always expect myself to go from zero to exceptionally skilled with anything I attempt, and I beat up on myself a lot when I can’t get things right the first time I try them.  Intellectually, I know this is silly, and I’ve been trying very hard to remind myself that nobody can achieve an expert level of skill overnight.  Still, this tendency trips me up time and again.

I was battling with this bad habit more than usual when I started my after-school writing class.  I got quite a few kids that had learning and discipline needs that were way beyond my experience level, not to mention it was the first time I’d ever taught a small class (which turns out to be a very different challenge than teaching a large class) or a mixed-ages class.  It was a lot of new things all at once, and I constantly felt like I was playing catch up.  I’d come home deeply discouraged, railing at myself for incompetence and ignorance.  Cory would always remind me that this wasn’t true, that I was just learning something new, but it was hard for me to accept this.  As long as there was anything that didn’t go 100% right, I felt incompetent, and if there was anything that I didn’t completely know, I felt ignorant.

Lately I’ve been trying a different tactic, which is to acknowledge that sometimes I AM incompetent or ignorant…because that is the first stage of learning anything at all!  In fact, it is impossible to develop a new skill without first being ignorant or incompetent at it.  Whenever I can embrace this stage as a part of the learning process, it seems easier to accept.  Before, I felt I was lying to myself.  Now, I’m re-contextualizing what ignorance actually is, and while I’m not exactly giving it value, I am placing it within the stages of a valuable activity.  It took the pressure and the guilt out of the equation, and I’ve found my brain is much more agile at adapting to the needs of each kid and the class ever since.

Have you ever had to embrace your own ignorance?  How did you accept it, and move beyond it?

10 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Secret passages. Why am I not surprised.

I have to do that a lot at work. I’ve been there for five years, so I feel like I should know everything, but sometimes things come up, and they make me feel dumb all over again. But I just have to accept that no one can ever know everything all the time. Ignorance is only a character flaw if you refuse to do something about it.

I’m passed 40 so everything that hasn’t got a dummies book starts me showing ignorance :D, biggest of those being mobile tech stuff. I don’t need to live with n app for everything (but a washing up app would be cool). anyhow love the layout and the spooky green flame cabin 🙂

There’s a quote that goes something like ‘The three words that mark the beginning of wisdom are “I don’t know.”‘

My dad sometimes likes to say ‘The more I know, the more I know that I don’t know.

My church has a scripture that goes something like ‘God gives us knowledge line upon line, precept on precept, here a little, there a little.’ And they will reference it fairly often.

Dream Eater certainly has a, well, dark take on the concept. Personally, I wouldn’t think of it that way. To me, it’s just about acknowledging that we are imperfect beings who really don’t know everything, and that it doesn’t really matter how quickly we learn as long as we’re learning and improving. I find it helps to remember that nobody’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes, that mistakes are there to be learned from, and we all gotta start somewhere.

I recently got a job as a teacher’s assistant at my school, helping teach some of the classes that I previously took. Some of the things I frequently say when someone asks for help are ‘I’ve had that problem before,’ ‘Sorry, I’m a little rusty,’ and ‘I think you’ll need to ask the actual teacher on this one.’ I figure I should work a bit on ‘I’ll help figure it out with you,’ at least until I re-familiarize myself with the content some more. Though hey, baby steps: I’m learning so much as it is already, and I’m not too worried about not getting everything all at once. =)

My boyfriend said something very profound the other day that kind of ties into Skysong’s comment. He said, “I’m fine with ignorance, when people just don’t know something, because we all start out that way. Not everyone is going to know everything, so I can deal with simple lack of knowledge. True stupidity, willful ignorance, that’s what I have a problem with – because that’s when you either know better and don’t care, or refuse to learn from your mistakes.”

I’ve worked with students that fall into both categories. Students that just haven’t been taught something, but embrace the effort of learning, always come leaps and bounds in a year. It’s the smart students that are convinced of their own intelligence that stay right where they are…and are downright obnoxious about it while they’re there.

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