Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trust Your Voice, Share Your Story

A few weeks ago Julie Johnson, Deb Frazier and I led a session in our district on digital learning.  As I walked around the room while teachers worked, one of my colleagues and friends called me over.  "How did you get started with digital learning?" he asked.  This is always a tough question to answer because it was really the perfect storm of a lot of events all at the same time.  For me, I think the more I found myself living in the world of digital literacy, the more I thought my students needed to get there too.  I just started reaching out digitally, and soon found myself purposefully a part of our digital world.  I knew my students needed these same opportunities.

It was a smart question, but one I grapple with articulating an answer for every time it is asked.  Finally I said, I think my biggest steps were when I started blogging.  Blogging pushed me to be thoughtful about my message, to connect with other educators, and to participate in the educational conversations that take place in digital spaces.  "Who wants to know what I'm thinking?" he asked.  I hear this all of the time, and it always makes me pause.  Why don't educators feel they have a voice?  Why don't educators feel like what they say matters?  As I looked at him, I knew there were a million things I wanted to know about his classroom, his transition from his work as a literacy coach back into the classroom, his practice, his challenges and his successes.  I know with absolute certainty he has a story.

For the next two weeks I am working with the Columbus Area Writing Project.  There are probably close to thirty people working in small groups.  Each group is writing around a particular topic.  Our group has been working on pieces around digital literacy.  Over and over again we come back to that conversation of owning your story.  In a room full of strong professionals working in a variety of situations, most teachers don't trust their voice.  The educators in the room are full of interesting questions, thoughts, and ideas, but don't trust the significance of their message.  "Write with authority" has become the mantra.  Who better to tell your story than you?

In a world full of politicians and media telling the story of education, I'm grateful to the bloggers who put their stories out there.  I'm grateful for the moments when I read a blog and feel like I've stepped into a classroom.  I'm grateful for the educators who share the way they work, their struggles and their successes.  I'm grateful to educators who talk about the professional books they read and the way these will impact the work they do with children.  I'm grateful to the educators who are willing to take a risk and share their story.

Maybe your story isn't about education.  Maybe you have a different story that needs to be understood.  My hope is that somebody reading this who is doubting that they have a story will be willing to share it with the rest of us.  Just think about the number of stories waiting to be told.  Just think about the number of stories lost because of doubt.  Yes, I'm talking to you.  Please share your story.

1 comment:

  1. This was such a powerful message! Everyone does have a story that can be told. As teach educators, literacy coaches and colleagues, we need to listen and honor those stories as they are what move us forward. It might feel risky to put ourselves out there, but we learn from the experience. Thank you for the additional inspiration!