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When I was younger, I was not so thorough. However, when I began teaching, everything changed. I became obsessed with being on top of my teaching game, pushing myself harder and harder, thinking if I could find that one perfect lesson, I could grab or reach all of my kids.
Last year I had a big eye-opening health problem—at much too young an age. My doctor told me to quit it...as did my colleagues and friends. I was told how to better assign work with prior consideration of how long it would take to grade it; my friends at work helped me catch up with my huge pile of paperwork; and, they began to brainstorm ways to better instruct and assess, without necessarily using a standard, traditional test format.
I find that I am not as thorough at home as I am at work, unless it is related to work. However, my husband is also a teacher, tho' much more easy-going about it, and it doesn't seem to bother him so much. It was harder for him to watch me (metaphorically) beating myself up.
I used to approach graduate classes the same way I approached teaching: if the teacher asked for 10 pages, I was producing closer to 20 because earning a good grade, in my mind, was a reflection on me as a person. ("I know now I was wrong.")
I have come to consciously recognize it has be about me, rather than keeping up with the expectations of others. And since I'm pretty tough on myself, I can afford to worry less about my peers: after all, most of them are so busy, where would they find the time to watch me?!
Like others have suggested, I think for me personally it depends a lot upon the task at hand and the context. For tasks that are important to me or tasks that have a context that is important to me, I am much more likely to take my time and be much more thorough with my work. For example, if I am writing something that is expressly personal on a topic that is important to me, I'm likely to take it quite seriously. However, how thorough I am in terms of proofreading and editing that writing might depend upon the context of my audience. If I am writing just for me, I'm not likely to much additional effort into editing. However, if I am writing to be read by others, I most certainly will devote more attention to that stage of the writing process.
I was not thorough until I started reaching my mid twenties. Once I hit my thirties I became very thorough (almost too thorough). I think that this just had a lot to do with growing up and becoming more responsible. I have a way that I do things (ex. house work) and if it is not done properly then I am not content.
I try to be thorough in the evaluation of my teaching. After 17 years I have a range of strategies which means the planning is a little easier, but I am thorough in checking what I do works. Domestic chores? Life is too short to be ironing. I park my vacuum next to my lounge so I can tell unexpected guests 'I was just about to..' I try to be happy at home and at work and do what is necessary rather than everything that iss expected.
Post #5 makes the very cogent point that it is difficult, if not impossible to be thorough in everything nowadays. But, if one has standards on his/her work there becomes an almost obsessive motivation to have work represent oneself as best as possible. For, there is no question that people judge others by the level and perfection of one's efforts.
So often students have the misconception that someone is "smarter" than they when the truth is that the other person is completely willing to do what it takes to make an A or perfect something. Effort, the work ethic, and pride in one's work are essential ingredients to success....It seems a sign of the times that this question is even broached, and that any shoddiness is permitted in education and the workplace.
Well, before I got married and had children, I was very organised, now, every day is one massive challenge! No, seriously, I think in different stages of life you have different standards and you need to learn when to let things slide and when you need to do a good job. One important lesson for me to learn was the good enough principle. If it is good enough, I don't need to put in that last effort to make it excellent.
About the things that matter to me, I am meticulous and want them to be just right. For things that aren't as meaningful, I'm willing to compromise. Because I'm so busy, I'm constantly balancing my desire for perfection with the time and other resources I have in order to deliver the best possible product. Wish that weren't the case, but there it is.
It depends on the situation. In my life at home, I often know I can get away with putting the laundry off for a few days if need be, or vacuuming the stairs. If guests are supposed to be coming over though, I find myself cleaning the house doing every chore with great thorough devotion.
In my life at work and school, I find myself being thorough enough to earn top rewards. If that means seeing greater success in my students, I try new strategies or ones that I know already work, even if my students would rather watch a movie. If I am in a class, I complete my work just enough to get the A. In graduate schools, that is often not too difficult, so my products can be a little shotty for my abilities.
I used to be much more thorough, but that was before so many demands were made on my time. Simple realities of working many hours and maintaining a teaching load with 150+ students has forced me to be more efficient in how I spend my time at home and at work. I can't be as thorough as I used to be just because there aren't enough hours in the day to operate in that way. I've had to prioritize.
While I was in graduate school (and especially once I started to teach classes while I was in graduate school) I became very thorough and systematic in my work. I have found that it is very important to be quite well prepared, especially when I go into a classroom.
When I started graduate school and started as a teaching assistant, I would tend to think that I knew enough to get by without thorough preparation. I soon found out that I could not do quality work without being thorough and methodical. So my experiences writing long graduate school papers and teaching classes really made me much more thorough and systematic in my approach.
Basically, I think that I learned what you might call study skills (as in the link) somewhat late in life...
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