I woke up in the middle of the night, realizing that I had volunteered to contribute to this “What I learned today” blog, and that the email confirming this had been read quickly, and then quickly forgotten in the daily rush. I also realized that my “scheduled” date was likely a week or so ago (it was actually October 16… and today is the 24!). Immediately I felt embarrassment, and then panic. Was there a blank entry on the blog page, with my name at the top? Were there a group of Peel educators, thinking I was irresponsible or disrespectful?
So, this morning I sent an email to two of the organizers, and received the most forgiving and supportive emails back, inviting me to contribute in any case.
This has been a lesson that has been repeated many times throughout my career. When I’ve felt ill, my students have stepped in to lead the class, and make me feel better. When I’ve been in crisis, my teaching colleagues have helped out with emergency lesson plans. When the line-up of students outside my VP office has lengthened, my colleagues have stepped in. And when, as a Principal, I’ve asked my staff or students for help, they’ve always come through for me.
As educators, we are trained to “judge”. We see the world with a critical eye, always ready to provide descriptive feedback, whether invited or not. Fortunately, we are also successful due to our Emotional Intelligence, and are often able to communicate this feedback in a positive way, preserving dignity and respect. I certainly see this in the feedback I receive from my staff, and I hope I am able to do so when I interact with them as well.
So, as with this blog, we need to encourage each other to take risks, try out new things, and be prepared for a few “failures” along the way. This is the only way that we are going to build our personal resilience, and model it for our students and colleagues.
This year I’ve ventured into Twitter (both as @TerryWhitmell and @bcssbucks), begun a personal blog (TerryWhitmell.com) and applied to a job posting in another board. The first two were great successes, and the latter was a “failure” that turned out great since I received excellent feedback from the interview team, and got to stay in Peel DSB.
So, take risks, follow your passion, and you’ll end up learning and growing!