Personal Philosophy

As a teacher I have to have a Personal Philosophy of Education. I think most of them say the same thing. I updated mine recently since I had to apply for a job, so it's fairly fresh in my mind.

I remember bits and pieces of my interview with the school I will be at next year (it's a blur of nervousness). The first question they asked wasn't what my philosophy is, but which of 4 statements best describes my philosophy. The 4th statement nailed my beliefs: "All students can learn at high level, regardless of their background." Yup. Don't bother repeating them. That's me.

You see, I teach at a very poor school. Most of the time I forget it, but these kids lack so many of the resources that I had at their age. And yet (I'm going to brag) half of them scored proficient on the last standardized test. I went from having 5 Proficient kids to 23, and 2 Advanced! In some areas my students did BETTER than the rest of the district!! I could hug them. I could cry. I am so freakin' proud!

Bringing it around to sewing. I believe that EVERYONE can sew at a high quality, regardless of their machine and fabric. I started sewing for a client on a $25 portable machine from Target. Silk pillows, on a $25 machine. Then I upgraded to a $200 Shark machine from Target (a gift from my husband). You get it? Everything that I made before March of this year was made on one of those 2 machines.

I have VERY high expectations. Of my students. Of others. Of myself. I'm tough and strict. I'm not the favorite teacher and I may not be your favorite blogger. But I believe in you. Don't settle. Keep trying. Practice.

I see a lot of mediocrity out there. Why? Are you really ok with a crooked seam when it would take 5 extra minutes to fix it? Is it deliberately wonky (I LOVE deliberately wonky!) or wonky out of laziness? Would you be ok with your child getting C's out of laziness when you know that they are capable of more?

When you put your name or label on something, make sure it's your best. My best 3 years ago is certainly not up to my current standards. And it makes me feel good to see that I have improved. And it makes me feel even better to know that I have helped my students improve.

So I'm challenging you. Not to be perfect, but to not settle.

**ETA: Please don't take this personally. This is not aimed at one person in particular! I want us ALL to do our best, at everything. **


  1. oh crap....did you write this for me? My boring pillow? ;)

    I do struggle with this. I am lazy, but thankfully & honestly, sewing(even though I do still tend to go the lazy route) has taught me to try harder. It's helped me to focus & is the one thing that actually helps me to finish projects that I otherwise wouldn't- I have ADD & have always struggled in that area, but sewing, for some reason, is like a therapy & makes me want to do better & try harder.


  2. I'm curious if this message would get thru to the nay-sayers - you know, the "but I don't have time for much more than sewing charm squares together" people. Some people really are content to be average.

    I agree with your overall philosophy, even if I don't always practice what I'm preachin' (you've managed to induce some guilt to go back & see if I can fix something in a block I made recently - thank you for that, lol!). And don't get me started on sloppy wonky - I actually don't like the word "wonky" associated with deliberate improv piecing, but think it's a completely appropriate term for lazy sewing.

  3. eeeekkkk I'm like commenter #1 wondering if this was written at me .. .. .. were my bee blocks wrong did I do something crooked?
    I do always do my best, but I wonder if my best is what someone else's best is?

  4. This is a fantastic reminder. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in getting things done and forget about getting it done right!

  5. Great reminder, thank you. I guess I tend to be a perfectionist and get crazy when I do something I don't think is perfect, so for myself (and my sanity), I need to hit a happy medium of balancing expectations with reality. : )

  6. I agree: always aim for higher, no matter what.
    Even if this means stepping out of your comfort zone (which I think is the hardest)
    Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo
    for all of us!

  7. Love the post. I think sometimes we choose quantity over quality. This last year I had to rip out a ton of seams dye to a late night mistake. When I was done and everything was sewn back together, I didn't regret raking the extra time to do. It right.

  8. I love this, I know I'm lazy in many ways but if I'm lazy with my sewing I always regret it so I am learning not to be. I like my projects to be the best they can, I know when I make short cuts that I won't be happy with the results and I will end up re-doing! I certainly don't think everything should be perfect but it is nice to have a reminder to do our best, whatever our best may be.

  9. I always meant to comment on your post and now finally found some minutes to do - IMHO it is a brilliant one which nails my beliefs exactly.
    By no means this way of thinking requires everyone to be perfect... I think there is a huge difference between a slightly "sloppy" block for a quilting bee (for example), that is the result of hard work, seam-ripping etc. from a beginner or the quick-quick-rush-rush result of an experienced quilter. The former I will praise & encourage to practice further & will proudly present the result in my bee quilt. The latter will disappoint me because it tells me the maker didn't see it neccessary to give her best (in this example for me).
    But as I am rather on the perfectionist side of life, I sometimes challenge me to allow some imperfections (those imperfections that nowbody sees, only if I'm pointing them out, but which drive me crazy nevertheless because, after re-sewing that part of the block more than 5 times, the seams still won't match 100 %). It makes me enjoy the journey more, and takes some stress out (which I have enough of in my day job).
    In the end, I think, it has much to do with the pride we put in our work (giving the best you can at the given point), and to find a good balance between the challenge to improve & the joy of just sewing :).
    Greetings from Germany,


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