This week’s theme in #etmooc is all about sharing. (Funny, more and more posts I make seem to be relating back to everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten). Sharing in this context, however, is far more challenging.
As part of my own professional development, I’ve been continually pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Most of the time, I hate it. I hate looking stupid. I hate saying things I regret. Most of all, I hate putting myself out there and not knowing who or how my thoughts, ideas, opinions will be received.
I was a quiet child.
I liked to blend in.
It goes completely against my nature to be the stand-out-in-the-crowd type of person.
And yet, my colleagues, my friends, people who know me fairly well, find this difficult to believe. In fact, my husband finds it hard to believe too. (He doesn’t understand how speaking to 100+ people at any given time doesn’t appear to rattle me in the least, but I was unwilling to dance with him in front of the dinner theatre audience on our anniversary. Well DUH!) My colleagues believe that because I so willingly and passionately talk about things I love, I am very much “out there” and outspoken.
With my students, I sing, dance, admit my mistakes and tell embarrassing stories all of the time. I encourage them to do the same. We laugh, a LOT, about the world, about stereotypes, misunderstandings, and injustices. In our classroom, I admit everyday what I don’t know. It comes easily. (Not sure it always did, but in time I learned that was the best way into the lives of teenagers, admit I am a work in progress too.)
So, why is it difficult sometimes, to put myself out there online? Is it like the fear of the dark (I’m not), fear of heights (skydiver and bungeejumper), fear of snakes (Oh, I do hate those suckers!)????? I do feel the need to protect the privacy of my family. I do feel the need to be somewhat politically correct, fair, professional and nondiscriminatory. I don’t want to be the wife of the deputy fire chief who burned down their house, any more than I want to be the technology teacher who got written up in the blue pages for a Facebook share gone bad. I want to do my job well, and I want to make the world a better place (which isn’t too much to ask, no matter what my brother says).
So, partly by request and partly to challenge myself, partly to be able to look back and reflect and partly to lead the way for others who aren’t yet there, I’ve agreed to do a Post-a-Week for our school board’s one-to-one initiative. I’m sharing. On Twitter, I share. In schools every day, I share. And in my teaching position, every day, I share. It is challenging. But, I’m clearly not alone. Not by a long shot. Look at the thousands of participants on #etmooc. Look at my own school’s opening day message to staff:
Support the whole child, Hard data, Accountability, Relationship building, Enrichment mind set.
There, that’s not so hard, is it?