Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Opening myself up

openingupIn Taking a Risk from Sioux's Page, Sioux asked,

“Was there a time when you shared with an audience/family member/friend and the results were encouraging?”

According to my husband, I share too much of everything with everybody! I try to be an open book because I want everyone to like me as I am, flaws and all. Of course I don’t open up right off the bat and have to get to know you before I tell personal stuff.

I try to share with my students that I don’t find a lot of things easy to learn as it may appear. I love to read and can learn anything I want to by reading but applying my learning always scares me. It is basically the fear of the unknown. Yet, the more I do, the easier it becomes, not because the actual task is easier but the fear of failure is not as scary. I am still learning that failure is not such a terrible thing. What is the worst that can happen? I might waste materials and time but no one and nothing has been hurt. I also learn what caused my failure and I can either decide to try again but in a different way or I can decide that I need to do something different. Either way, I have gained knowledge from this experience so all is not lost.

Many times my students like to listen to my personal stories of adventures in learning (or failures in learning as the case may be). Maybe it makes me more like them rather than up on a pedestal. They see that I “survived” from my many failures and that gives them hope.

A lot of my students have already faced so many failures by the time that they are in my class that they have given up hope. They feel as if they shouldn’t even bother trying because they will just fail again. It is my job to turn a possible failure into a reasonable success so we discuss “the worst thing” that could happen and then talk about what happens even if “the worst thing” happens. When we reason things out, they suddenly see that it is worth taking a risk and trying. In my class, nothing is really a failure and everything we do is a success as long as we try.

The more I open up with my students about how even I have a hard time learning, the more encouraged they are with trying. We also talk about individual strengths and weaknesses. All of the weaknesses seem magnified in a school setting because that seems what educators focus on. Suddenly they learn that they do have some strengths that other people may not have (including me).

Do you open up to others? What have been the results? Please share.

Image: 'Decisions, decisions...'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48447300@N02/14363065472
Found on flickrcc.net

1 comment:

Sioux said...

Pat--Thanks for the shout-out, and if you and I were teaching in the same school, we'd make great teaching partners, I imagine. We can't expect kids to share pieces of themselves if we don't share ourselves with our students. Taking risks is a two-way street...

(My next post--probably on Thursday--is about a 93-year old author who just published her first novel. She is amazing.)