Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Competing With Yourself

Years ago when I was in school, I would compete with my friends to see who would get a better grade on a test or an assignment. When I was in the work place, I would compete with colleagues to see who would finish a day with more productivity. I used to compete with people, and certainly most people do like to compete with others.

When I was in college, I was doing an internship with someone who was considered tops in her field. I made a comment to her once about the fact she had no one to compete with but she told me she did, she competed with herself.

Ever since that time, I find that I compete with myself more than I compete with anyone else. Can I give a better speech this time than last time? Can I find a more effective way to teach a topic this semester than last one? Can I find a better movie clip to illustrate a point? Can I finish this hour with three complete instead of the two I got last hour or, if I don’t get any completes, can I make twice as many calls this hour as I made last hour?

Ever since I “discovered” this method, or really adopted it, I find I do better. I can be tough to please so, I have to please myself and if someone does better than I, good for him or her. I actually encourage students to use this approach as well. Instead of seeing if you got a higher grade than a friend, how about seeing if you got a higher grade than you did on the last speech or assignment. Were you more pleased with the job you did this time around? If so, that is a major victory.

Competition is a good thing but I encourage you to compete with the right person.