Don’t get me wrong, I have had the best start to a school year since the beginning of my teaching career 14 years ago. I have been forming relationships and building trust with my students. They are developing their skills and making me very proud to be their teacher. I am taking risks, finding successes, and learning from failures.
But there is that little nagging voice in the back of my head as I go home each day…Have I done the best I could for them? Is there something I could have done differently? Is my environment the most conducive for learning? Am I giving them enough feedback? Are my assessments truly measuring my students’ achievement?
I know deep down that I work very diligently to provide my students the best learning experiences possible. I am always reading, learning, and practicing to grow and improve my craft of teaching. At times, the nagging voice can eat away at my confidence a bit, and discourage risk taking. I try to ignore this, and I am getting better at it. There are other things that feed the nagging voice – colleagues, old systems, politicians, lack of time…the list goes on. It is difficult to push the envelope when most everything around you is pushing back to maintain the status quo. We cannot sacrifice what is best for our students because it makes our lives easier. We cannot lose confidence because we forge new paths.
There are positives to this voice. It keeps me centered and grounded in the fact that I cannot stagnate. I cannot stop. I must keep changing, innovating, and creating. If I slow down, my students stop. I need to make sure that I listen to the voice to a certain extent – always challenging myself to be better, learn something new, create a better experience. It keeps me on a journey rather than at a destination.
Here’s to being a positive deviant for change. Break away from the mold to do what is right for kids. Learn from your experiences, colleagues, and environment. Grow and take risks. Dare to be the teacher you never had in school. That is what my nagging voice has challenged me to do this year.