Goose or Gossage

We're always trying to understand what makes certain rookie teachers excel, while others are so-so. Laura and Erica keep coming back to "drive." Willpower + desire. Can a teacher prep program help 22-year-olds develop more drive? How?

There's an aspect of teaching that is writing. Lesson plans, tests, curriculum, emails. In fact, rookie teachers in particular probably spend more hours each week writing than "teaching" (i.e., in front of kids).

Ooh, the writing life. It's tough. Read 50 biographies of writers, and 40+ had habits, hard-wired habits.

Should we be trying to teach rookie teachers to have specific out-of-class habits?

Blogger Steve Pressfield relates:

Konrad Lorenz, the Nobel Prize-winning zoologist, had a pet goose that he allowed the run of the house. The first day when the goose waddled in the door, there happened to be a mirror near floor height; the goose mistook his own reflection for some rival bird and flew into attack mode.

He pecked the hell out of the mirror before moving on to the kitchen and the rest of his day. Next morning: same thing. After a few days, Mrs. Lorenz removed the mirror so it wouldn’t get broken—but the goose kept pecking the same spot. It never stopped. Over a lifetime, every time that goose webfooted its way into the Lorenz house it was compelled to peck that very spot where the mirror had been.

That’s habit. But here’s the intriguing part: the goose’s offspring, who had never seen the mirror, learned the habit too. Two generations later, every one of them, when it first entered the house, was still pecking the spot on the wall where the original goose had kicked off these shenanigans years earlier.

The point of this story is that habit is powerful, not only among us humans but in the animal kingdom as well.

Habit can be a mighty ally in the day-to-day struggle against Resistance...

What I’m trying to do, myself, day-by-day in my professional regimen, is to reinforce the habit of a regular work schedule. I don’t succeed all the time. Days definitely get away from me. But the goal never changes and I never let up. I want to build a groove, I want to establish a positive, momentum-generating pattern.

Is wiring each rookie teacher with certain work habits (customized to his/her preference) within or outside the realm of what teacher prep should be doing?