Monday, March 17, 2008

I Found My Teacher Voice!

I finally have found my teacher voice! After all the years teaching (almost 30 years), I feel comfortable talking with other educators, giving my opinion, and exchanging ideas. I can’t explain why I never felt comfortable about doing that before but maybe I felt like I wasn’t good enough, or I didn’t know enough, or I had nothing to contribute. But for whatever reason, I have kept silent. Finally, I am speaking out about what I believe in, what I feel should be changed, and even offering suggestions and ideas that I feel are helpful to making teaching more successful.

I once wrote a thank you to a professor from Furman University who was instrumental in encouraging me to be a teacher. She remarked how quiet and unsure of myself I was during that time and how delighted she was to see what I have grown into because she always believed I had it in me. I wish someone would have helped me back then to rise to my potential because I wasted a lot of years being a wallflower. Maybe I would have been an even better teacher during my career.

I hope in my new role as a retired teacher, adjunct university instructor, and teacher mentor that I can influence some beginning teacher to find their “teacher voice” early. I would encourage them not to be afraid of saying something that others might disagree with because that is what opens discussion and helps to refine what we believe in. Maybe by opening dialogue, it will help clear up some misconceptions or fears as beginning teachers are developing their skills. Maybe this would help in retaining quality teachers because through discussions with the education network, teachers would develop quality skills and become willing to try innovative ideas. They would also feel like there is a support system of other educators out there (I wish I had known this when I started teaching almost 30 years ago) because the fear of failing or making mistakes can paralyze a new teacher.

In an article titled Chemistry by Injenuity, she states, “We are making social connections, but I feel we are also making new internal brain connections, stimulating endocrine production and by nature, changing our personalities.”

I think that is what happened to me. I’ve made new brain connections! I feel more confident and sure of myself and I don’t think this is a temporary thing. I just hope that I can help other beginning teachers to make this new brain connections and help making their teaching careers more successful!

Photo credit: You Have a Voice by Skeletonkrewe


Joel said...

Congratulations. I think too often people just go and complain, which is actually destructive. Sitting in the background, while not producing any change, is the safest option.

Stepping out and setting yourself up as an authority of sorts is scary. When we begin to speak out and offer solutions, that is exactly what we're doing. It's lonely territory, but it's a fun ride.

Anonymous said...

Well stated. I think that perhaps the "new" tools at our disposal have torn down some of the walls that less experienced teachers built in front of themselves.

loonyhiker said...

Joel: That has been my "problem." I am always putting my foot where my mouth was which is why I ended up running for a county office one time and actually winning the election against an incumbent. Boy was I shocked. I always told my students if they weren't willing to help fix the problem, to stop complaining! Next thing I knew I was elected County Soil and Water Conservation Commissioner, which was a very enlightening experience!

loonyhiker said...

Stephen: I hope these teachers let the walls down and the learning in! :)