One of the challenges for this week’s #CLMOOC make cycle was to add a (made-up) constellation to a group “sky.” The project, initiated by Kevin Hodgson, consisted of two parts; designing and adding the constellation to a map, and writing a myth to explain the constellation. I hemmed and hawed around all week, thinking about how to combine some traditional myth(s) with what CLMOOC is all about – using creativity, imagination, and play as components of learning.
I easily concluded that Raven would be my mythological character. In Norse mythology, Odin has two ravens, Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). They act as his attendants, and fly around the world, delivering information and gathering other information to report back to Odin. Many Native American tribes depict Raven as a creation and trickster god. This includes the Haida Indians, who are indigenous to southeast Alaska, where I grew up. Among other things, they attribute Raven with creating all the objects we see in the sky.
I also knew I wanted to intertwine the reasons we CLMOOOCers are spending our summer writing, making, and tinkering into my story. When I eventually sat down to actually write, the words came easily. I spent very little time editing, because I liked the result. My muse had spoken.
However, and here I get to the crux of this post. After I had submitted my story for the public to see, I began the harsh self-critique. Maybe I should have put a comma here, or used a different vocabulary word there. I quickly stopped, and asked myself: “Does the story portray what you wanted to say?” (Yes.) “Would changes in mechanics or using synonyms REALLY change the meaning of the story?” (No.)
My tendency to negative self-talk is rooted in a childhood where I was incapable of meeting my mother’s exacting standards. A deep-rooted “I’m not good enough” developed, and decades later still has the power to dis-empower me, if I let it. I am quite sure I am not the only person on this planet that has ingrained saboteurs of this type. Some of our students fall into this category.
My own self-reflection was a strong reminder of how useful structured self-reflection is for students. It gives them a framework for evaluating their own work in a positive, supportive way. Instead of nitpicking the small details (that others may not even notice), how does the whole appear? If the student is not satisfied, based upon an assessment process, it is time for a revision cycle. If overall, the product is pleasing, let the rest go. Perfection does not exist, and if perfection is our goal, we will simply end up in modes of paralysis and procrastination.