My formal journey to become an educator began almost 13 years ago. A recent graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film, I had always worked with children. Toward the end of my program, I felt the strong itch to become a teacher…however, I had already completed the bulk of my major coursework.
One day, in grad school, I learned of an opportunity to receive alternate certification. I applied and was accepted into the Transition to Teaching program. After a summer of preparation, I was hired as a teacher in a nearby school district. The learning curve was extremely steep, but I learned to survive (and later thrive) in this field through the School of Hard Knocks. Pun intended, by the way.
It was through my early experiences that I gained perspective on the need for teachers to become “teacher leaders.” Everyone has something to offer, and everyone is an expert in something. It is up to us to decide whether we share our expertise with others, or take it to the grave and isolate ourselves in solo silos.
Empathy and relationship building must also be at the core of everything we do in our profession, whether learners are our students or our peers. After all, we are supposed to be models of life-long learning.
For years, I have been shouting from the rooftops on social media: empower, empower, empower. Share, share, share. Teacher leaders. Student voice. Teacher voice. Sharing is caring.
Yet, lately, I’ve been silent.
Rewind back to the 2014-2015 school year, also known as my last full year in the classroom. In SY 2014, I started off the school year attempting to blog, vlog, or vox-blog every single day. I gave it the old college try, and my streak lasted roughly the first month of school. Even after that I was over, I was still fairly consistent.
This past November (2015), I left the classroom for my current role, a central office technology role in my county. It has been my dream to join this amazing team since I first was introduced to them in 2008. I wanted to help teachers in my county the way my teammates helped me when I was in the classroom. They showed me new ways to make things better for my students. They helped me to find my strength and believe in myself, even when I was weighed down by the baggage and self-doubt of my early experiences.
Were it not for them, I would have never applied to present at a conference, or even known that conferences were things that I could go to. Were it not for them, I would have never known it was possible to choose to learn what I wanted to know. Were it not for them, I wouldn’t have found out about social media as a way to communicate with other teachers around the world.
Were it not for them (and my last three principals), I honestly don’t know if I would have found my niche, and I don’t know where I would be today.
I have been in this role now for nearly a year. I have learned so much, one would think this would be the time when I had the most to blog about. However, oddly, I have been experiencing writer’s block. Not only that, but in the most exciting time of my life thus far (professionally and otherwise) I have been utilizing social media less in a “pro-senal” (professional-personal) manner…unless, of course, you count my Tweetjukebox posts, which cheerfully remind people at 3 a.m. “never to miss another EduMatch meeting,”as one of my buddies jokes.
To be fair, I have tried. I made a strong push to blog at the beginning of the school year, but didn’t get very far. I fear that, to an extent, I have adopted the #solosilo life, which I have actively opposed for so many years.
The more I try to get better, the worse I have become. It has become difficult to find topics to blog about. Today, out of the blue, the reason hit me. The answer is a combination of different factors:
- Similar to when I first started classroom teaching, I am still learning a new role.
- I am soaking in all of my new experiences and setting new goals, taking time to reflect. While blogging is reflecting, I am still establishing my foundation…albeit a bit more privately (for now).
- When I was blogging regularly, it was from a classroom teacher’s perspective. However, now, my lens is shifting, which can take time to adjust.
- I would not feel comfortable now writing about how teachers can do X, Y, and Z.
- I am realizing that I can write about how other RTCs, coaches, TOSAs, etc. can do X, Y, and Z.
- I could possibly even write about how Teacher X blew my mind with his/her lesson on Y (even though it would be much better if Teacher X wrote the post on his/her own blog, and I retweeted. Just saying).
- I have been very fortunate and blessed to have been recognized for doing what I love. I have worked very hard on branding myself, but I strongly believe that part of branding is amplifying the voices of others.
- We are all doing this work together and good ideas need to go viral.
- Lately, I have fallen in love with helping to create opportunities for dialogue, and have invested as much energy as possible in making this happen. This will continue.
- In the final year of my doctoral program, I need to balance my time more effectively.
- I have set a visual reminder to myself every time I log onto Twitter that time is ticking, and I need to be smart. Obviously, I don’t listen very well (even to myself), as I still struggle with getting “Ph.inished.”
- In a Voxer group that I’m in, we have been discussing this very concept, and someone made a great point that you’re never “too busy” to do anything, you just make time to do things that are important to you.
- Priorities have shifted, as I’ve grown more connected and become more involved in various projects. I need to move my dissertation even higher up on the list.
- Once again, the connection aspect comes into play.
That’s all I can think of for now, so I’m going to hit publish…I guess this is one of those posts where I blog to understand and make sense of things. As always, I thank you for reading, and for all that you bring. I am truly honored and blessed to connect with so many amazing educators. Thank you for inspiring me.