I’m Glad I’m A Bad Teacher

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One sure way to block success is by running away from a belief, idea, thought or feeling you have about yourself.

For instance, if you’ve ever thought: 

  • I’m a bad leader
  • I’m going to be “found out” as a fraud
  • Other people are doing a better job 
  • I’m a bad teacher

You know what I’m talking about.  But I want you to know you’re not alone.

For over 25 years, I’ve had the thought “I’m a bad teacher” rear its ugly head.  I’ve noticed it happens when:

  • I get a negative evaluation
  • My learning session didn’t run as well as I had hoped
  • I am stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things

I used to try to run away from it (over prepare, try to be perfect, try to be really nice to everyone).  

But running away is exhausting. Plus, whatever we resist will persist.   

Until we pay attention.

Paying attention means embracing, being curious, or examining the thought when it emerges:

It takes courage to investigate the dark.  But that’s where you’ll find gold.  

When I embrace “I’m a bad teacher”:


One gift is it helps me not become complacent.  It causes me to think through my sessions, materials and learning strategies.  It helps continuously improve.


It can be scary standing in front of a group of people.  I still get nervous on occasion.  When the thought “I’m a bad teacher” emerges, I’m reminded to practice self-care and kindness.  If a child is scared it’s best to offer comfort and kindness rather tell the child not to be scared.  The thought reminds me to do the same for myself. 


Embracing being “a bad teacher” allows me to look at the big picture.  I’ve learned that sometimes what is taught is not always learned at the same time.  Or, I’ve experienced people who have been critical of the work, tell me, years later, how much they actually learned.   I want to remind you that your “shadow beliefs” often emerge when you:

  • Take on a new leadership role
  • Step into your first classroom 
  • Try something new 
  • Help your team navigate change

It’s nothing personal; it often means you’re growing.

My hope for you is that you continue to have the courage to embrace the self-beliefs you find uncomfortable.  

And in so doing, you find your gold. 


PS:  For the record, I think you’re spectacular.

This was originally written in 2015, but based on a recent conversation I had, we thought it was a great time to repost it.

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A question for you...

What negative thoughts have you had that turned into wisdom? What was the belief and what has been its gift for you?

Answer now

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