A Teacher's Best Friend Book Club discussion

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Pursuit of Perfect Book Club > Week 1: Introduction and Chapter 1

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message 1: by Alison (new)

Alison Smith (ateachersbestfriend) | 28 comments Mod
Hi everyone and welcome to our book club on the Pursuit of Perfect! I'm so glad to have you all to be reading along with me!

Please Introduce Yourself When you Reply! Tell us your name, location, grade you teach, and what you hope to get out of this book club.

Questions for this week:
1. In what area of your life do you expect the road to your goals and aspirations to be a “straight line”? Is teaching one of them?

2. Is your vision for the best life possible free of pain, failure, and struggle? If so, what is going on? How can you redefine/reimagine your vision for the best life possible to include the inevitable twists and turns?

3. Do you generally focus on the destination or the journey? What does it cost you when you “miss” the journey?

4. What “symptoms” of perfectionism raised a red flag for you?: all-or-nothing thinking, defensiveness, fault-finding, seeking to control etc.

5. What new understandings do you have now about perfectionism?

6. How do you think perfectionism impacts your teaching?


message 2: by Alison (new)

Alison Smith (ateachersbestfriend) | 28 comments Mod
Hi everyone! I’m Alison - I live in Chandler, AZ - and I taught 4th grade and have taught adults and at the collegiate level too. I am a teacher trainer (in STEM) and a life coach for teachers. I am hoping to facilitate a robust discussion about the topics in this book that enriches ALL of our experiences. My intention is to facilitate a REAL yet positive discussion so please feel free to really open up. (And I seek to model that too!)

1. This was exciting because, being a self-diagnosed perfectionist, I actually feel like in most areas of my life I take the optimalist view that there will be twists and turns. But then I remembered my on-again off-again love affair with my health. Damn. If I’m being honest, I have this idea that the road to health will be a straight line!! I have never acknowledged my setbacks as part of the process. Instead I’ve always seen them as failures. This was a great realization for me!!

2. Dang it - again I have to say yes. (It’s funny what you uncover when you’ve never challenged the definitions and visions your mind automatically brings up when you hear “best life possible”) I honestly picture myself (skinny of course), sitting on a beach, relaxing with my husband. Which is sad because my 3 year-old isn’t even in that particular vision!! Shoot!! Okay - so I’m reimagining this vision now - surrounded by family - not free from our share of struggles, but wiser for it - full of grace and compassion toward myself and others - healthy (not skinny) - peaceful ... I’m going to keep working on this one even more!

3. If I’m honest, I’m mostly a destination focuser. I catch myself saying things like “when ABC happens, then XYZ can happen.” And in the midst, I miss the lessons and joys the journey has to teach me. I’ve been working on this one through the use of a gratitude journal. It keeps me in the moment and focused on what the parts of the journey (especially the trials) are teaching me.

4. I could relate to all of these - but in different areas of my life! Which made me realize that perfectionism really IS on a continuum and you suffer more from it the more you care about something.

5. The most impactful new understanding I have after reading this section is the idea that perfectionism affects us all, is pervasive in our lives, but shows up differently depending on how much you value something. I knew it was toxic, but didn’t really understand how toxic it is! This is such a great book! I’m loving it so far!

6. I know that perfectionism impacted my teaching because of my all-or-nothing approach - the lesson was either good or bad and unfortunately, I viewed my students choices that way too. I had very little grace for myself especially. I also had a strong desire to control even the smallest of situations. These were hugely impactful on my teaching and my students. I’m committed to making this better!


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