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      Laura Berlage

      the lady's face in progressEveryone has an inner critic.  This is that voice that can tear you down right when you’re just about to make a leap of faith or even get out of bed.  Everyone has it because it’s part of our childhood development–a mechanism meant to help keep us safe and in the good graces of our caregivers when we are little and vulnerable.

      The trouble is, that inner critic matures when we are 8 years old and then developmentally stops.  It stays at that cognitive level–moody, argumentative, scared.  It gathers up all the authority voices of our childhood:  parents, teachers, etc.  When it feels a threat, it activates!  That threat might be a real one (you’ll miss the deadline) or a perceived one (I don’t like change).

      This inner voice (or cacauphony of voices) can be intensely cruel, especially when you venture into something new, something you might not already be good at.

      It’s important to consider that not only do you have this, your students do to!  In class, their inner critic might get the better of them, and they drop out.  The inner critic might try to get the better of you, preventing you from fully actualizing as a creative person and teacher.  I’ve had my dark times with it too.

      If you’re ready to tackle this issue and learn more about it and how to handle it (knowledge is power), I have a wonderful book to recommend:  Mark Coleman’s “Make Peace with Your Mind.”  It’s thoughtful and poignant and worth the time.  You can find it here:  https://www.amazon.com/Make-Peace-Your-Mind-Mindfulness/dp/160868430X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=make+peace+with+your+mind+mark+coleman+book&qid=1695252513&sr=8-1

      What are your thoughts on this subject?  How can being real about the inner critic help us be better educators–for ourselves and our students?

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