Being (self) judgy

Recent email from a colleague at my school:

Click here for quick (Screencastify) tutorial. It was a one-take video, don’t judge!

Don’t judge. 

Judgment as a whole is a bit much to wrangle, so let’s focus on the one-take video. 

I was new to Screencastify when we moved online in the spring. Well, not quite new, but certainly not comfortable. This fall, I continued to create what was necessary but spent an awful lot of time deleting, re-recording and attempting to edit.

Until recently, when a Gr 9 teacher asked me for some resources with little notice. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so I quickly produced 5 short videos:

  • Noodletools (setting up account; the basics; more advanced)
  • Using SIFT to evaluate a resource
  • Doing a basic database search

I don’t consider this my finest work, but the teacher was thrilled! Really…I couldn’t believe how grateful he was for what I produced.

We know that buying into editing culture is damaging, but I’d never before thought of editing/re-recording my own videos in that light. It got me thinking about what I’m aiming for. Certainly my work needs to be clear, thorough and understandable, but it need not be perfect. If I appreciate imperfection in others, why the heck am I worrying about it in me?

I now rarely edit or re-record; the time-saving has been considerable, I think the delivery seems more natural and I’m even making (some) peace with hearing my own voice when people are listening to it.

I’ll be over here toning down my self-judgement – hope you’ll join me.

9 thoughts on “Being (self) judgy

  1. Hi Shelagh,

    I love ❤️ that you’ve tagged this mental health! Perfectionism is one of the slippery slopes I often find myself on. Thank you for the reminder to be as kind and forgiving to ourselves as we are with others.


  2. S.S., I love you. YES. I find myself saying “I’m just going to model some vulnerability right now and tell you that I’m using (insert tech here) for the first time, trying to shake up how I reach you. so let’s practice grace for any lameness or glitches that are likely coming today.” Also, I have my kids interrupting my virtual book club on Fridays asking me to move the car so that they can play basketball; I have dogs that start chasing our chickens when I’m sitting in the yard (a deadpan “Mrs. A, I didn’t know you had that in you.” is perhaps my favorite quote of the year so far, when yelling at my dog to stop chasing said chicken. :-)) I think that our colleagues and our students appreciate us being human right alongside them. I still cringe at the sound of my recorded voice, but when flipping a considerable amount of material, you’re right, time is way more important than any attempts at perfection.
    Thank you for this distraction, friend. Deep breath in…and out…I’m going to be doing 5 minute mediations before every research lesson I teach today for the kids AND my own well being.

  3. I have experienced similar feelings with screencastify. I don’t think of my teaching as a performance, but it feels so much more permanent to make a video, and I put pressure on myself to get it just right. I still give myself a “freebie” when starting a new topic, leaving space for laughter or surprises on the screen. Then I aim for a second take that I’m comfortable sharing. What’s funny is that some of the little errors (seeing an author is named Donald and writing Daniel in the citation for instance) aren’t even noticed by students. And with that, I need to do a few for a Civil War history project right now…

  4. This is so important. I often find myself paralyzed by the false requirement of perfection. We need to take our own self-perceptions (and ego!) out of the teaching equation. I am not important; the content is.
    Thanks for a timely reminder, Shelagh!

  5. Yes! I tell myself that the imperfections of my videos make them more like a classroom experience. I’m certainly not perfect (and I don’t get second takes!) when I’m in the classroom, and I want my videos to have that same energy. I think it helps us feel more approachable and human (at least that’s what I tell myself).

  6. Uh… No… Disagree… Only our best work should ever be seen because we’re professionals! Hahaha! #JustKidding Clearly, y’all have seen samples of my “slow-talking-um-laden” videos and my typo-laden blog posts. I’m forcing myself not to edit or reshoot too much. One notable exception being my screencast on Apple News. I happened to be talking about the algorithm recommending articles based on your viewing history and interest selections and inadvertently stopped scrolling next to the headline, “My Wife’s Past Sexual Exploits Have Come Back to Haunt Us.” Yeah… Link to that video got pulled and it got redone. Hahaha! I’m just trying to force myself to think of my screencasts as ephemeral. Record. Publish. Move on. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m so happy I’m not the only librarian that can be “messy!”

  7. So much AHA! in this post for me, Shelagh. Thank you. I’ve been dragging my digital feet in making videos and instead have been relying on Google Slides presentations and annotated screenshots. Thanks for setting me FREE! And also, what’s SIFT?

    • Go for it, Ruffin – it gets so much easier once you dive in! SIFT (see link above) is a 4-step model for source evaluation. I’ve tried a few out over the years but this one worked really well with GR 9s last year, so I’m sticking with it. We have a lot of fun with – I think the first step (Stop – give a think, have a plan) is worth the price of admission 🙂

  8. Just catching up today on my AISL emails… one take is all we usually need! I love using Loom for screencasting–I can edit it a little if needed. I’m trying to add a little humor to my screencasts and smile more. It makes ME feel better to smile!

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