There I sat in lecture still learning my place as a teacher’s assistant. This was my very first teacher’s assistant (TA) position and I was nervous about my new role. My feeling of nervousness mostly came from my fear of not wanting to mess up. I know mistakes in life are normal but I did not want to be the one making them. More than anything I wanted to do my job to the best of my ability and really enhance the experience of my students.
On this day, we were reviewing a set of questions in preparation for the student’s exams when the lecturer was notified of a mistake within a question. She calmly reviewed the question, made note of the mistake while reassuring the class of her intention to correct the error. Though she handled the situation effectively and professionally there was something else in the dialogue with the class that stood out to me most. Before moving on to the next question she comically chuckled “its sucks being human” which made me smile.
While I know there are worst things that could happen besides making a simple mistake, I had an unrealistic desire to be a perfect TA. However, this quickly changed after hearing her say those few words.
The following week I stood in front of my class feeling less nervous and more confident with the understanding that my world would not crumble if I messed up. Sure, some students may give less than stellar reviews during course evaluations (they did not…yay! Haha) but even still my main focused would be learning from their feedback. The lecturer’s maturity and charisma when handling her mistake reminded me of a few things which I want to share with you.
When dealing with mistakes and life you should…
1. Release yourself from unrealistic expectations
2. Gracefully admit mistakes without taking things personally
3. Take time to learn from your mistakes without shaming yourself or speaking negatively about yourself
4. Remember that making mistakes is what makes us human and is normal
5. Remember it is okay to laugh at yourself every now and then
6. Give yourself permission to not be perfect
7. Forgive yourself whenever you make a mistake
8. In the right settings share your mistakes with others to encourage wisdom sharing as well as opportunities to learn
While it does stink to make mistakes, at times, they are a part of being human. Making mistakes is what allows us to grow and to gain wisdom. Mistakes are necessary to grow in life. Hearing those words that day released me from the unrealistic expectations I placed on myself. I reminded to push away from unrealistic expectations and to embrace any slip-ups as opportunities for growth as opposed to shame or guilt.
If you have not already come to this place my hope is that you will come to this realization in your own time. I pray you to remember you are only human and that is okay. The very best you can do is the best you do each day.
Be well and feel free to share this blog post with your loved ones and friends.
Peace, Love, and Joy