Friday, June 22, 2018

Putting Yourself OUT THERE Professionally

As I reflect over my school year, I realize I had a lot of disappointments. In fact, a crazy amount of disappointments. As a rule, I don't deal with disappointments or rejection well so I have spent the last few days asking myself "why does this year feel like a success if you truly felt like you had tons of disappointments?"

I think it is because my disappointments weren't in what was happening at school that much and more about putting myself out there to become a better educator and to grow. I also think it was because I put myself out there enough that I also have some crazy awesome things to celebrate as well. As I started typing this blog post I decided to just create this chart to help me put my year in perspective:

A few years back I realized that in order for me to get the feedback I needed to both grow and feel fulfilled in my role I would need to reach outside of my own school system. Not that it isn't a wonderful school system- it is! But I tend to be a futurist and and "what's next" type of thinker about education. That being said, it is not my role to force my dreams on those I work with, so looking for ways to develop and feed that part of myself while incrementally creating opportunities at our school is important to me.

There are some years the professional rejection feels more overwhelming than the things to celebrate but because of my personality, I feel like it's important for me to keep putting myself out there. And let me say that has not always been my personality. There have been more years than not that I was quite happy siloing myself in my classroom with my students and focusing on teaching and the things that happened within the four walls of that classroom. AND I was a good teacher. But after spending time looking at what others were doing by attending conferences and using Twitter to grow professionally, I had a quest to do more and be more for myself, my school system, but ultimately the students and families I serve.

So now I spend time looking for opportunities to get outside my box and challenge my thought processes. I realize that as an instructional technologist I work in a role that opens a mixed bag of emotions from others. It is that fact that has pushed me to have a more global approach to my job so that I can get the support I need and can be a balanced educator in seeing the strengths and potential pitfalls in my realm of influence.

I say all this to challenge others to continue to put yourself out there. After not being chosen for part of the Google Innovator program this year I tweeted "Rejection makes me hungry." It's true. Don't let your rejection define you-dig deeper, apply again, seek other avenues, but never accept the status quo of complacency!  Fail forward and grow! Colonel Sanders, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and J.K. Rowling are just a few people that come to mind when I think of persevering through the struggle of failures. May I ever be someone with that type of growth mindset.