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Monday, July 28, 2014

Chin Up, You

We're getting a post-TMC rush of folks posting about how interacting with our awesome community is making them feel a tad inadequate. I appreciate the honesty and the willingness to be vulnerable. Blogs are a great place for processing feelings, aren't they? And this is from a person who barely has any feelings, so you know it's true.

I have some perspective now on being well-known by a certain small niche of the internet, and I want to tell you, every time you think "I am not as cool as that cool blogger person" that person is likely thinking "I am not nearly as cool as this person thinks I am." At least, that is what I am thinking.

It is natural to read about someone's practice and compare yourself to them. But you have to remember that when you are reading about awesome things on blogs, you are reading about that person's best day. Their best day that week or month. Maybe even their best day that school year or in their career. When you attend a presentation at TMC, you are hearing about one aspect of a person's practice that they have been thinking about for a while.

And you're comparing it to the totality of you, because you are stuck inside your head 24/7.

In the fantastic morning session organized by Elizabeth Statmore, which touched on collaborative group problem solving, restorative practices, classroom circles, and so many other things, I had an opportunity to present a quick task and ask the participants to... participate. I'm really grateful that they were game and willing to work through a few things with me.

There were a few consequences of the way I structured the task that I didn't anticipate, and I wasn't super thrilled with how it turned out. I felt for a hot second like, "Oh no, now they know I'm not that good a teacher and will think I'm a fraud." But of course, it would have been delusional for anyone to think that someone with only a few years' classroom experience, who has been out of the game for a while, could plan something that would be awesome right out of the gate. So it was dumb of me to assign them that expectation. And if they came out of it thinking "Kate is not nearly as awesome as I thought she was," then GOOD. Because that is the truth.

So, I'd just like to say, everybody chill the &^%$ out. We are all good at some things and suck at other things. One thing we all share is the recognition that we all have work to do, and that we can all get better, and that focusing on that is worth our time. There was an adorable tweet yesterday from a math teacher asking how they could "join the MTBoS," with a perfect response from Jed Butler. If you're asking the question, you're already in. Show up. Learn. Teach. Get better. We're all right there with you.

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Hi! I will have to approve this before it shows up. Cuz yo those spammers are crafty like ice is cold.