I’ve been teaching for 15 years now and I feel like the last 2.5 have been the years that have made the largest impact on me as a person. 3 years ago I was a product of the system. I wanted to do better. I rubbed people the wrong way. I was a conscientious disrupter. But instead of making a place to do work that matters, what usually happened was that I was forced to jump ship. The students I had in class everyday were benefiting from being in my classroom, but I wasn’t making any impact on the students I never saw. I wanted to do more.
It took attending ECET2 San Diego for me to find my tribe. Suddenly, I went from feeling isolated and alone to a group of amazing educators from across the country that THOUGHT LIKE ME. I wasn’t the one pushing the needle. I was able to sit back and be in awe of the amazingness all around me. Professionally I had discovered this oasis. I was refreshed. Rejuvenated. I was ready to take on the world with the support of my tribe, my colleague circle, and compatriots from ECET2.
Then, suddenly, I was thrust back into the toxicity of my everyday position. The more I tried to remake the pond I lived in, the more retribution and retaliation I felt. It was exhausting. The potential I had experienced weeks earlier was quickly eroding away. And beyond belief, against all my honest efforts, the good work I was trying to do became overwhelmed by vendetta.
But, with the ECET2 experience and the path it propelled me, I began to own my voice. Without the ECET2 colleagues, I would not have had the assuredness that I wasn’t along. More importantly, it caused me to look for others like me. For others that were trying to be benevolent agitators. For others that were drowning in the wrong pond.
So I created a new role: teacher scout. As a teacher scout, my goal is to elevate, support, and nurture the voices of amazing teachers trying to be the change agents that ensure a better future for all us. This spiraled into a podcast I know host called Everyday Excellence and that led to the opportunity to show the world amazing teachers. This work, the intentional scouting for these types of individuals, has not only supported and enhanced their work; it has also allowed me to grow.
So while each of us are attempting to bail fast enough to keep ourselves above water, we may actually be better off to stop bailing and instead pull others into the boat with us.