Be Vulnerable

Six months ago to the day I hit publish on my first post. Four blogs in six months…that’s about right. I keep seeing others around me posting weekly, and it makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong.  After six months of soul searching, I finally figured it out. For the first time in my career, I’m afraid of what others might think. I was always the first in line to tell other educators that they should learn from/with others around them, they need to share what they’re doing, and that they should crave for others to be in their rooms to offer feedback. Those things came naturally to me. They were easy. To some, that makes them want to throw up and find a different profession. I’ve never quite understood that…until now.

Blogging is my “having others in my classroom to offer feedback.” Blogging has taken me to the line that my insides have created that separates tranquility from feeling like a war zone. Based on the fact that this is my fourth blog in six months, you can easily figure out which side of the line I’ve been on. I don’t want that. It’s actually the last thing I want. If I’m pushing my teachers to not focus on their fears of others judging them, why am I not modeling that for them? I have the opportunity to use this as a platform to showcase the great work they are doing with their students and hopefully to help them grow their craft. I don’t see any negatives there. It’s me not living out what I’m pushing them to do themselves.

Robert Kaplinsky wrote a blogpost a few weeks back that has caught the educational world by storm to start this school year. It’s more than a blogpost. It’s a challenge to be vulnerable. Since this post, teachers across the country have been posting a sign on the outside of their classroom asking for visitors to come in, watch them teach, and then offer feedback based on specific areas they want to improve. #ObserveMe is a sign of vulnerability. It’s not a statement to others saying I’m comfortable with anyone being in my room. What is actually says is that I’m willing to put student learning ahead of my own personal feelings, because I want to be better at what I do for my kids. In the past few days, #ObserveMe signs have been placed on four different classroom doors in one of my buildings. I love the desire to get better. I love the willingness to put nerves and personal feelings aside for the sake of improving. I love that being vulnerable, which is naturally difficult, will allow these teachers to reach more students.

I’m expecting four to turn into eight, and then into sixteen. I think when others see that it’s okay to not feel comfortable, it’s going to continue to spread. Seeing these four teachers post #ObserveMe signs made me really think about my issues with others reading my writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I know that. I’d like for it to be perfect though. Regardless, I’m not going to let that fear stop me from sharing stories and hopefully helping other educators connect and grow.

Let’s be vulnerable!