I (Cathy) was reading a literacy newsletter yesterday and was intrigued by an article by literacy educator, Clare Landrigan. She reminisced about a saying her father used to share with her, “Everyone’s greatest strength is their greatest weakness and their greatest weakness is their greatest strength.” I have heard this before and tend to agree with it. I have referred to it often while exploring Brookfield’s critical incidences with my student teachers. We would reflect on the possibility of how our greatest strength could be holding us from recognizing our own literacy assumptions.
What intrigued me about Landrigan’s article was the educational perspective she introduced that I simply had not entertained before. She asked her readers to look at the weaknesses of her students and try to see them as their greatest strength. For example, the student who cannot sit still . . . has the potential to be incredibly productive and he student who takes forever to do something . . . is attentive and thoughtful. What a wonderfully productive way to look at the students we teach, regardless of age. It also might help us recognize positive aspects in ourselves when we are feeling particularly critical. What is your greatest weakness?