Have you ever had a student who repeats the same mistake over and over again? You continue to teach or re-teach—or correct their misbehavior—but they still do the same, wrong thing. It’s like that movie Groundhog Day—an endless loop of the same day in and day out—pure torture to some.
Groundhog Day is an iconic movie because it teaches us to learn from our mistakes (or we could be stuck in one endless loop repeating each day over and over gain). Sound like one day last week? Sounds familiar to me too.
You might be in your own version of Groundhog Day you just don’t know it, yet. Even though some of our students may be stuck in a repetitive pattern of bad choices, that doesn’t mean we need to be.
Here’s how you know if you’re torturing yourself needlessly, day in and day out. If you are able to identify with any of the “Have you ever…” questions below, you’re stuck.
Have you ever. . .
- Tried something new, but dropped it one day later because it didn’t work the first time?
- Stayed late to try to figure out how to do something?
- Not gotten to small group yet again?
- Not taken the advice of a mentor even though you knew it was the right advice?
- Stayed up too late and regretted it the next morning—but continued to do it anyway?
- Stuck to the lesson planning in the teacher’s edition or curriculum because everyone else was—even though it doesn’t work for your students?
- [Fill in the blank for something you absolutely know is a mistake but don’t know what else to do]?
I get it! We all make mistakes—I do all the time. There’s hope—in the Groundhog Day Strategy. What sets us apart as great teachers and leaders for our students is learning from our mistakes, continually reflecting on what works and what doesn’t.
To avoid reliving the same year and the same mistakes again and again, adopt this Groundhog Day Strategy:
Step 1. Take the time to IDENTIFY your mistakes. Ask yourself, “what’s not working for me?” Commit to stop doing them. If it’s not working, create a stop doing list.
Step 2. Create a “stop doing” list. You can have any item on your stop doing list. For example, if staying late to try to figure something out or to find “just the right resource” to reach your students hasn’t worked for you, put it on your stop doing list. Instead, write down what you need to learn or what you want instead.
I created this simple guide for you to get you started using the Groundhog Day Strategy. Writing has power. It will enable you to quickly identify those mistakes that are holding you back.
Or you can choose to be caught in the endless time loop. Nah, that’s not you. I know what you’ll choose—exactly what’s right for you and your students using the right tool, right now.