the flaws that make us who we are

In a more ideal world, all teachers would differentiate and engage in formative assessment. What does this mean? Differentiating means recognizing that each student is unique and approaches learning material in his or her own way. Formative assessment refers to monitoring and responding to student learning as it is happening (both in the classroom and over the course of a term). Education tends to trend toward the traditional methods and language of the private sector, where the bottom line (aka summative assessment) is the only metric that matters.

This post isn’t about criticizing the education complex though (there’s plenty of opportunity for that); I think these practices come into play in many facets of life and especially in terms of my efforts to carve out an online identity. It’s been a real journey. In graduate school, I tried to manage separate personal and professional personas. But given the amount of work this takes, I didn’t find it to be sustainable nor desirable. I seek an authentic and integrated life, and it led me to the creation of this blog. I want to learn and explore critical ideas without being forced to put a PR spin on them or worry about my imperfections.

At the same time, I’ve been raised to see the world as a place where people are judged on what they say with little room for growth (depending on who you ask, I’m either closed off as you might expect or ironically uninhibited). While society might increasingly demand transparency, outrage and polarization still seem easier than recognizing someone can change (or might be having an off day). You see it in politics, YouTube videos, and, well, everywhere–and with good reason: they don’t. Or if I’m being optimist, it’s more that regaining trust is overwhelmingly difficult. One errant word or action (or lack of) makes or breaks a person, and it takes more than a public statement to rectify a wrong or alter an opinion. It takes (with no guarantee) a genuine commitment and desire to improve one’s self.

So here’s my personal memorandum of understanding that I make when I write (or anything else I do) in my blog: Sometimes I will make mistakes. Sometimes I will act the hypocrite. (Sometimes I’ll be overly dramatic and/or facetious). But I will stand by what I say when I say it (and perhaps not a second longer). Then I will learn, grow, and write again (because that’s how I learn!). No matter how old I am or what I achieve, I am a student in the end.

As the saying goes, it’s not my flaws that determine who I am; it’s what I do with them.

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