Thursday, March 8, 2012

Grit: teaching what I ain't got

Our high school had all teachers give a lesson on "grit" - the ability to stick to tasks and persevere when the going gets tough.  In preparation for teaching this lesson, we watched a video featuring Angela Lee Duckworth, PhD.  I found it interesting, both in informing my teaching, and in reflecting on my own challenges.  (It's an 18-minute video)

As an adult with ADD, I certainly have my issues with sticking to things.  I took the same 12-item grit test that the students did, and scored a predictably low 2.66.  I have certainly managed to complete things requiring long-term focus and perseverance: a master's degree, a 1,440-piece queen-size quilt.  But I get side-tracked all the time with the new and the shiny.

One of Professor Duckworth's images is stuck in my head as I survey my sewing room today - a speedboat going really fast, but without direction.  (Okay, when it comes to most things, I don't really move as fast as a speedboat.  But I resonate with the random directionality that the speedboat implies.) 

My project "focus" has flitted hither and yon:
From piano-key borders for the 1930's reproduction quilt
to the paper-pieced daisies that will one day grow into a pillow

and several false-starts along the way: cloth napkins (how hard can it be to hem squares, really?), tightening up the waist and hemming a jumper I bought for my birthday (from January, I'd like to wear it sometime soon). 

It all feels scattered and directionless.  I am not making visible progress in any way that feels meaningful.

Argh - lack of grit strikes again.

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