Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Be Unique

In One of the above from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“In order to be “one of the above” you have to begin by being willing to be ‘none of the above.’”

When we are young, we spend so much time trying to fit in and be like everyone else. We think that if we are like everyone else, we will belong.

Teens want to be part of the group and not stand out. They want to blend in because they think that if they are like everyone else, they will be accepted. It is this desire of acceptance that leads many down a dark path. When they finally realize that they don’t need to be like everyone else and that they can be themselves, they can shine in their own self-acceptance.

This is a hard lesson to teach students. They don’t believe that I understand how they feel. They think I’ve forgotten what it is like to be their age. They think that things are different during this time than it was when I was there age. Though events may be different, I don’t believe individual feelings and desires have changed that much.

In the same respect, I feel that new teachers are in the same boat as a teenager.

New teachers want to belong to this new group they have finally been able to join. They want to look like all the other teachers and be accepted. They want to be just like the veteran teachers so that they won’t stand out.

But I think it is important for new teachers to stand out. Their enthusiasm and excitement are sometimes a needed shot in the arm for veteran teachers. New and innovative ideas come from these new teachers. While overall teaching hasn’t changed a lot, fun new strategies can be shared by new teachers. Sometimes veteran teachers may get a  little dusty and it is this influx of new teachers that can get rid of the cobwebs and bring new life to a faculty.

I like to encourage new teachers not to be afraid of their newness. Don’t curb your excitement about your new career. Be willing to share your new ideas and don’t be discouraged if the veteran teachers are not as excited as you are. Be willing to try your new ideas and if they don’t work out as planned, keep trying.

But also, don’t think that you know everything and that the veteran teachers need to be put out to pasture. New teachers can learn a lot from veteran teachers’ experiences in the classroom. Be willing to listen to advice and if you disagree, just listen and do your own thing. You don’t need to debate everything that you don’t agree with.

Being a new teacher is a wonderful thing for all. It usually takes a few years for a new teacher to feel accepted. Sometimes it happens when another new teacher arrives the next year and you are no longer considered the new teacher.

It is okay to be unique and stand out. This may be what is needed in order to be successful in the classroom and even in real life.

How do you stand out? Please share.


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