I had a teacher in high school who loved to quote Samuel Beckett, "No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." At the time, I thought that this statement was defeatist and pessimistic, a perversion of "try try again" that was, to me, representative of his personality. But after my first few attempts teaching in front of my mentor, it was ringing in my ears.
First time: I was about five minutes in to teaching students on my own, with my mentor and co-res sitting in the back of the room. Then, unexpectedly, she stopped me and told me to try a think-pair-share. Flustered, I did as told and tried to throw in a T-P-S. Pretty soon she was standing next to me at the front of the room, and we were taking turns speaking to the class and having them work in their groups while she whispered tweaks in my ear. I felt chagrined; in my head, I knew that I should take this "real time coaching," as they call it, in stride and keep on keepin on, but in my gut, I felt a vague, nagging feeling of disappointment and anxiety for the rest of the day. I wrote down the phrase that is this title's post to remind myself that getting better is something that one has to be good at. I have to be willing to take advice and adjustments as ways for me to improve, and not as criticism. It is hard, though.
Now, two weeks later, I feel good about how things are going. I have a lot of energy, though I have been getting less and less sleep, and I feel like I'm getting better at anticipating what my mentor wants me to do. But this feeling of success means that new hurdles are just around the...what? Bend? You don't have hurdles around corners, right? The point is, there are constantly new pieces to master. Champion teachers aren't made overnight, after all!