Thursday, March 28, 2013

Facing Fears and Learning From Them

A week ago Monday I was invited into  a Google Hang Out organized by Dean Shareski in support of Discovery Ed. I have been on both sides of these hang outs and I love everything about them.  Dean invites educators to share what they are doing in their practice via the Hang Out, with other educators who are at a Discovery function with him.  He also encourages those that are with him to share what they are doing with their colleagues too. It's a powerful way to learn.

One thing I seem to wonder about each time I'm asked to help out is what should I share.  I am  not afraid to share in writing. In fact I love to share what I'm up to. For me it's a way to solidify my thinking. That's why I enjoy writing on my blog. It helps create clarity for me.  But when I'm asked to share something in person (or in a google hang out) I often freeze.  What do I do that others would want to know about?

I'm sure many of you reading this (particularly those in my #1stchat family) are thinking what, Karen is not sure what to share? Because you're right I do love to share, and I do contribute a lot to #1stchat, particularly to topics that are near and dear to me.  But to me that's different. #1stchat are my people, they teach grade one just like me so they understand where I'm coming from.  I have no problem adding my thoughts to chat topics.

I also love it when I am contacted with a question whether via a tweet, an e-mail, or in person.  I love to help people out on their journey of learning.  Helping others helps me out too by making me really think about what and why I do what I do. More often than not I learn just as much, if not more from the person asking the question.  I like trying to answer their questions.

Which brings me back to Dean's Google Hang Out for Discovery Ed.  When I speak in that environment I am not answering anyones question.  I am sharing what I am doing with hopes that others find benefit in what I'm doing.  This type of sharing pushes me out of my comfort zone.  And the thing is I am totally honoured to be able to take part in these sessions.  I want to share the right thing from my bag of tricks, something I'm passionate about and the audience will find interesting too.    And to me it's way different than writing on my blog.  People can choose to to read (or not read) my blog  but when they are live with Dean, and the Google Hang Out is the focus of the session, they have little choice but to listen to what I have to say.  This makes me feel uncomfortable. It's out of my comfort zone.

Being out of my comfort zone is good though because it pushes me in ways I need to be pushed.  It also helps me better relate to my students.   This point is very important.

This year I have some extremely quiet students. They are far less comfortable sharing in front of the class.  And yes, our classroom is a very supportive and caring environment.  I've dealt with this by increasing the amount of turn and talk  we do during  discussions so that they are sharing with those that they are most comfortable with.

While my fears are different from theirs we are both dealing with fears.  This connection is important for me as a teacher and reminds me that I need to be mindful of my students and their needs.  We are all unique individuals, with unique needs that should be respected and honoured.  Our fears are real.  As their teacher I must respect their fears and find ways to support them to over come them.

Fear is a part of learning, and so to is pushing past those fears. Hopefully as a teacher I can help my students get there.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Karen! From where I was sitting, you absolutely knocked it out of the part with your sharing on Google hangout! I know that I have so much to learn from and with you, and so does everyone your inspire. Your leadership and ability to articulate what you are doing and learning is one of your many strengths. Keep sharing, we grow and our students benefit. What could be better than that?