*this blog post is also on my new blog site at www.chelseacleveland.com*
When you get discouraged and become frustrated, become more involved in other activities and move your focus from one project to another…..OR…..summer happens…it’s hard to bring yourself up to get back in the game. You’ve lost your schedule, your mojo, and perhaps just the missing link of “making time” in your schedule to blog, and in this case reflect. So here I am, in the dog days of summer, with my amazing cohort of colleagues “making time” to reflect and push out this post.
This past year has been a deep dive into some personal and professional development, which was missing for a few years. I had concerns, I had worries, and I had fears. Doesn’t everyone when starting something new? In all transparency, I was excited to learn and grow…but in private. Why? Well because I am a private person and figured so many of my learning would:
- not be useful to anyone
- be a jumble of junk that led nowhere, and
- a huge waste of time, and I had other more important work (while I (we all) have teaching, grading, e-mailing, and behaviour management to keep running smoothly, day to day)
that being shared and put out there…what I have learned and grown to appreciate was that:
- my thoughts and ideas are more relevant than I have thought. My opinions actually matter, and my insights (although sometimes not always on the side of easy, are valid and listened to.)
- the time and writing I have put out and posted, has actually helped me in more ways than I would have thought. Having now global community on Twitter of over 100 followers and growing… (I was happy when I reached 10…) and having more confidence to share and speak and collaborate with teachers and educators around the world, has taken what I thought was “jumble” to deeper conversations, diamonds in the ruff, and a junkyard of resources to sift through at my fingertips.
- This is the work! This was the most important turn-around in which I embraced, was by setting aside time and “putting in” the work, was actually beneficial for the larger portion of work we all do as educators each day. Tools are tools, but the work is involved in how to use (the) tools and media to gain, expose, and open up a world of educational inquiry, support, and infinite methods of life-long learning. Work can just be work, work can be important work, but this work was more essential work than I ever imagined.
This all sounds fantastic right? well… my personality doesn’t typically fit with the “in between” moments. Those parts of this journey were where I learned more about myself than I would have ever imagined a professional plan would have. Thoughts of weakness, not enough, and struggle were constantly flowing through my head. Hard? Uncomfortable? You betcha! So how do you move on from there? Well it’s something I’m currently and planning on continuing to work on. Whether it be the timelines, fulfilling every box in a checklist, or just completing a post or trying a new tool with full success…my first thoughts were failure…
…how negative right? self-loathing and egotistical..but very true and my truth for me.
so not yet, and now…and changing the mindset… I’m switching my focus to embrace the growth.
Growth doesn’t happen once. Growth is a continuum. When I used to say “I feel like it’s (or I am) not enough, I’m learning see that “enough” is actually just one moment in time. One finger on the pulse. So bringing that back to look at from 40 000 ft above, I am working on appreciating my steps and baby steps, and more importantly steps in the right direction. In a world of now, immediate validation, and outrageously high expectations of “you can do anything” and “anything is possible” failing comes naturally if it’s not there or success is not felt right away.
Learning to appreciate and make smaller goals (sometimes so small as, cleaning my desk, or writing an e-mail) allows us to take time to realize that our lives are filled up with many small moments that matter. Appreciating, but not dropping or letting go, pushing through the struggle and acknowledging and celebrating the “just about there” moments in small everyday events and big professional endeavours alike.
So why is this so important?
I believe that when we reach and attain these small goals throughout our growth and learning, we build more confidence and desire to continue moving forward. If we get it right away then; so what? what’s next? now what?
Practice what you preach. As I write this, I’m snickering inside, I, (and I’m sure all of you do this as well; preach this to all of your students.) It’s starts off small: “Mistakes are a part of learning” and evolves to “stick with the problem”, or in my personal circumstance “#dontstealthestruggle.” So why? Why? WHY? global teachers, educators, adults..why do we think we use a different set a rules and values in the appreciation and value within ourselves?
As I wrap up this post, and look forward to the new school year, and new me ahead, this is what I know:
- I am a confident, natural, and enthusiastic reflector.
- I enjoy blogging and putting myself out there, to help others, and to help myself.
- I am more patient with myself when I’m not there…yet.
- I am dedicated to continuing my journey for not just myself, but my students, colleagues, school, and greater and global community.
- I continue to validate and appreciate the importance of Documenting for Learning for myself, my students, and for my students to begin their own journeys.
- My hope is to prioritize the work, instead of working to do work.
- My hope is to find and sustain a more balanced approach to my professional and private life. (I’m not Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by any means, I just need to clarify more and appreciate where each fit within my days.)
So…to tie up one year, and move toward an unknown, but exciting new year ahead, I have officially set-up, created, and published my own professional blog! If you are already reading on it- Congrats, you’re one of the first! If you’re not, then I encourage you to make the switch over and follow me, as this will be my last under the Globally Educated Learning umbrella. Although I’m closing that door, my windows to what I learned and the support from Silvia Tolisano continues to thrive. The chrysalis in which I used to embrace this journey took time to grow, time to fail, heal, and cycle back, try again, and appreciate, all has meaning and importance into my overall growth. I’m excited for new blog posts and opportunities to share out more student learning, more personal and professional growth, and as always, more thoughts, feedback, and sharing as I do for others, what they have always done for me; provide me with insight, food for thought, and even a glimpse into new ideas and adventures I am currently navigating.
Stop. Be grateful for where I was, acknowledge where I am, and appreciate what will come next.
Keep moving forward, (and sometimes that means a step back or two) but more importantly…continue on the journey, and more importantly…
…embrace the almost
This is a beautifully written reflection of the year and your growth. Your way with words and the progress you made in your blogging and reflecting is inspiring!