If we are not willing to let go of ‘Who We Were’ we will not find out ‘Who We Could Be’ – we often fear that which brings change- that which pushes us to re-examine who we are. Every day is a PD day. #myPDtoday
It’s funny how things happen that help us see things differently.
This morning I had a really good discussion with a good friend of mine David Truss (@datruss on Twitter) about a lot of different things. We talked about education and our families, how we were coping with the new reality of isolation and various other things. It was like one of those coffee conversations you have with a friend. David and I were on Zoom. We’ve never met in real life and, as David pointed out, our last conversation was when we got lost in a Second Life fiasco. But it was like having coffee with someone I have known for years. Connections have a way of growing into these types of relationships.
Later today, I read Laura Spencer’s blog post about her thoughts on the current move to online learning. Again, I’ve never met Laura but in this post, I found that we had a whole lot in common. We were both English teachers who thought they’d teach high school English and spread the joy of reading and writing only to end up as Middle Year teachers and loving the teaching. As I read through her post, I realized that many of us have much in common when it comes to teaching. We are connected through our belonging to the same profession.
Struggle is Normal
For many teachers, struggle is a normal part of their career, especially at the beginning. But it’s not just at the beginning. It happens throughout one’s career as new standards and expectations have been added to what teachers are supposed to do. The expectation is that teachers will be successful. However, as Laura points out.
But success takes time. Time we don’t have right now.
So please, give yourself grace and know that you’re doing your best.
If that means you are making paper packets, awesome.
If that means you’re hosting a Zoom call for 100 students in your jammie pants, sweet!
If that means you’re learning Google Classroom 10 minutes ahead of your students, amazing!
If that means you’re creating lists of resources for other teachers and parents to use, cool beans!
If that means you’re creating a color-coordinated hourly schedule for your family, or you’re hating the people who have made the color-coordinated schedule, carry on my friend!
We are working through this without the luxury of knowing how it is supposed to turn out or look like or feel like. We don’t know what will happen and that makes us fearful and anxious. As teachers — we are supposed to make this work but we’re unsure of what to do. Our past experience hasn’t prepared us for this.
But there is Hope
Hope for things to work out. Hope that we will find a way to make things work for our students and our colleagues. Hope gives us the courage to continue to try despite not exactly where we are going. Hope gives us the energy to try when things haven’t worked out.
One of my favourite lines from Star Wars — Rogue One comes from Jyn Erso
“We have Hope. Rebellions are built on Hope.”
We are, in many ways, in a type of rebellion. The old order is not prepared for what is happening. This is an unprecedented time for education. We need people who will take chances, who will experiment, who will innovate. Hope gives us the confidence that we can help students to grow and learn, to overcome the hurdles that are facing us. Hope is in the conversations we are having. Hope is in the way we are sharing.
Who Could you BE?
As I was thinking about this the past few days, I realized how this could be a time to re-envision myself as an educator. To take chances, to try new things, to see what works and what doesn’t.
Our students will be okay. Despite how worried people are about their learning, I believe we have an opportunity to go in new directions, get students to explore learning in new ways. Some might be online but there are also options for non/low tech learning that give students the opportunity to go into their world to explore and learn. To bring their world into learning in new ways. They will become new students. There will be a change.
For me, the fear of failure has been so strong, it has kept me from stepping into the unknown of what might be, of where my creativity could take me. I believe this is true for many teachers and many students. Yes, we have the technology to support learning but, as people seem to be re-capturing, there is a whole world ready to be discovered and explored. There will be an opportunity to step out and try different things.
So I ask, Who could YOU be?