Tuesday, September 30, 2014

That Horrible F-Word

We've reached the last day of September-supposedly the last day of the blogging challenge.  It hasn't been 30 days for me because I got a late start, but who cares, I gave it my best shot and it has resulted in a tremendous growth experience for me.  I've blogged on my own schedule and on my own terms.  Up until now, I pretty much kept up with the prompts for the day and followed the right order, with a couple of exceptions.  There were at least two prompts that I deviated from because I was compelled to write about something other than the topic of the day.  Just as I do everyday in my classroom, my plans changed because it was the right thing to do at that moment.  

So what does that opening paragraph have to do with having no fear you might ask?  Well, everything. So often we follow strict orders from our leaders even though our hearts are taking us in a different direction.  How often do we not huddle with co-workers, venting our frustrations rather than presenting alternatives to our administrators?  Why do we mindlessly follow when we know in our gut we should be doing something else or completing the task in a different way? Well,  it's that four letter F-word....FEAR.  

It took over a year for me to start blogging even though I always wanted to do it.  Why? Because I was afraid.  Afraid that someone would read my blog and think it was nonsense, or discover that my writing skills have a lot left to be desired.  Interestingly enough, I tell my ESL students all day long that they need to practice reading and writing so they can improve.  Do as I say, not as I do, huh?  So, last spring I finally took the plunge, inspired by Twitter and also by my struggling English learners who fearlessly publish their thoughts online not worried one bit about their language deficiencies.  When I learned about this blogging challenge, I jumped at the chance to motivate myself to blog on a regular basis. Even though I got a late start, I did it and I'm better for it.  

Well, on this last day of September, last day of the challenge, I fast forwarded and followed the prompt for Day 30.  Today's prompt was good for me for many reasons.  So, what would I do as a teacher if I was not afraid?  First and foremost, I would take more risks and encourage my students to take more risks as well.  I would follow my heart and go with my gut, and worry less about the status quo.  I would take more leaps of faith, looking straight ahead rather than to my sides.  Basically, I would operate on my own terms when I feel it is the right thing to do for my students and my career.  I'm not one to mingle much at school, but there's so much negativity in our profession these days and while we often feel that we are under attack, we need to try to develop solutions rather than become embittered and frustrated.  Our young people deserve a bright future and if teachers are not satisfied, it looks pretty dim.  

This day is not an ending but only a beginning.  There will be more blogging, more reflecting and I hope that especially after today, I will remove that horrible F-word from my vocabulary and follow my heart wherever it may lead.


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