Have you ever heard your voice on a recording and been surprised? “Do I really sound like that?” It is safe to say the way we see ourselves is rarely how others see us. We all have a blind spot – and I first learned that lesson in graduate school.
As part of a class assignment I was videoed while being interviewed. Afterwards I had to watch the recording and write a paper on what I learned. What did I learn? Three lessons… I talked too much. I talked with my hands. I cut people off when they were talking. I thought, “surely I don’t do those things all the time. Do I?” Of course, these self-revelations were not a surprise to friends and family, but to me, shocking.
When confronted with our own behaviors, it is easy to get defensive. My teacher told me, “Dan, you don’t know what you don’t know – and if you don’t know something about yourself, you can’t change it. This is why we have to listen to others when they give us feedback.” Simple words, but for me, life-altering.
Teachers, as we move toward the end of school, now is a time for evaluation. Look for feedback and learn from it. Student and parent surveys can be very telling, but so too, can just the simple practice of listening to others and reflecting. As I tell the students, “celebrate your gifts and confront your challenges.” Here’s hoping we all have a great final month of school.
PS – If this topic interests you, look up the Johari Window. Since I’m a human behavior geek, I love the concept.