My goal is to not make this obvious.
My goal is to be honest.
My goal is to reflect.
It's been 15 years since I've started teaching and I'm not for sure what I would say. I've thought about this all day. I think the best advice that I would give my beginning teacher self is the EXACT SAME I would give myself TODAY.
It takes courage to get in front of students and be vulnerable. It takes guts to expose gaps in knowledge or practice with our colleagues. It takes daring to meet with parents about their child. And those are the obvious situations. The million other things that happen throughout the typical day that requires a teacher to be amazing for someone. This job is not for the faint of heart. Our students deserve only the bravest teachers. Our students need us to put aside our own apprehensions. Our students require our best.
But, now as then, self-doubt, hesitation, and fear get in my way. While my role has changed, the problem remains the same. I constantly worry about the amount of impact my work makes. Do I make the best decisions? Do I focus on the right things? How do I coach teachers and school leaders? I still haven't learned this lesson. Maybe if I had started 15 years ago on this I would be in a better place, but alas, I am stuck. Stuck in fear.
Do I think not being brave has hindered my work? Well that depends. I think the self-doubt and apprehension actually made me a better classroom teacher. It forced me to get better. To learn more. To discover better strategies. To listen to students' feedback. To evolve. Self-doubt allowed me to be more reflective.
In my current role, the jury is still out. I hope I'm doing the best thing. I hope I flounder along. The distinctive difference is that I have no direct measure of success or effectiveness. But, I can hear the voice, "Be brave" and I therefore I am.