Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks. I am living proof. I had been teaching for 12 years and I was growing tired of my same old routine. I knew that I wanted to stay in education but in a different capacity. I began working with my media specialist and it hit me, “I want to be a Library Media Specialist”. Many thought I was crazy. “Why would you want to work in the library?” My students asked, “Miss, are you being punished?” “The library is boring!” “Why would you go back to school in a Master’s program, when you have a specialist?” “I thought you wanted to be an administrator; you have a license!” I started to doubt myself. But, one of my co-workers, told me to stop talking about it and just do it. She said what do you have to loose. At that moment, I decided to do it. I knew it would be hard but I wanted it. If Josh Waitzkin can go from being a chess champion, to a beginner in martial arts, I could change roles in the school. (The Power of Belief Mindset).
After my first year, I realized that there are certain characteristics one must embody to have a growth mindset. I decided to compile this list.
- Use failure as a learning experience. When you fail, don’t just give up. Keep trying. Evaluate yourself and determine what you can do better. So many great people failed before they achieved success.
- Never stop learning. One must have a growth mindset in order to have success. Keep your mind open to learning. I try to learn something new everyday. I always thought I was not a “math person” because I had no interest in math and therefore struggled with it. After viewing, “The Power of Belief: Mindset and Success”, I realized that that was the thought of one with a fixed mindset. I can learn and be successful in math. In an article entitled “Even Geniuses Work Hard”, Dweck argues, “Students with a fixed mindset do not like effort. They believe that if you have ability, everything should come naturally. They tell us that when they have to work hard, they feel dumb. Students with a growth mindset, in contrast, value effort; they realize that even geniuses have to work hard to develop their abilities and make their contributions.” (2010) Because I had to work hard at math all my life, I felt unsuccessful but now I now that the effort one puts into something matters too.
- Step out of your comfort zone. Be willing to try something new. It is okay to mess up! Have fun in the process. Josh Waitzkin could have continued with chess but he did not. He decided to learn something new and conquer it. He won several martial arts competitions as a result and now is off and conquering something new.
- Focus on the process. I listed the following goals when I began taking FRIT 7234
- Effectively communicate and collaborate to deliver, market, and advocate for library and information services.
- Navigate, curate, and create information across the spectrum of human records from local to global contexts.
- Develop a professional identity, including commitment to core values of Library Science.
If I evaluated myself now, I would consider myself unsuccessful because I have not done it all. However, if I look at the process, well that is a different story. I have worked hard and persevered. I started writing my first blog, I have been reading amazing literature that is enhancing my views, and I am communicating with others who are providing me with beneficial feedback. In addition, I am learning about more tools that can enhance my school library program. Progress! That is what matters most and that is reflective of the growth mindset. There is still so much to do and I am enjoying the journey and keeping an open mind and maintaining a growth mindset.