I was recently interviewing with new organization and I was asked to share about some of my proudest accomplishments. While I did speak about the typical classroom and professional successes, I also made a point to mention that I am proud of the connections that I have made and the people who I surround myself with in education. Truth is, I felt voiceless, under-appreciated, and even marginalized for many years in my role. If not for the connections that I made via social media and local meetups such as Edcamps, I don’t know if I would have made it. The people who I met uplifted and inspired me on a daily basis. Some of the people who were responsible for this uplifting and inspiring did not even know because I was very often the little lurker in the room…listening in and nodding my head or pumping my fists, but keeping silent.
Looking back on the past year, I realize that I have been very selfish. Silence is selfish. I sometimes joke with my boyfriend that he is withdrawing from my emotional bank account and not making any deposits. So I would also have to say that I have been dipping into my friends edu-bank accounts and not make anywhere near enough deposits. I ask myself why have I been doing this? I have things to say, I know I have done great things with my students and teachers, things that I am proud of, things that are worth sharing.
A lot of reflection has led me to this conclusion. I truly believe the space that I was in, both mentally and physically, made me feel as though I was less than. But of course I was not less than. I know this because my ideas, that were often ignored, were the best ideas ever when others would suggest the same thing. It got so bad, that I even told my ideas to other teachers so they could suggest it. Believing, knowing, that if it came from someone else it would be viewed in a different light. It got so bad, that I even thought about straightening my naturally curly hair that I love. Believing that if I just had strait hair and a different look, then people would listen. Whoa.
So yeah, I have been silent for a while. But I owe it to myself, and to the community of educators that I connect with and adore, to share my stories. Share not only my success but also my failures. There have been many. But the better story is how I picked myself up, often with the help of my PLN, and did it again or kept going. The commitment that I am making is to not be silent…and to keep rockin my beautiful kinky curls! Yaass!