My mind has been busy lately. This year of 2020 has been full of struggle, intense learning, big leaps, uncertainty, and fear. In March my position as a district Tech Integration Specialist became more intense than I could have ever anticipated as I’ve helped prepare our teachers for anywhere learning, lead our new Learning Management System implementation, and began an administrative licensure program. It’s been an exhilarating and challenging ride as I’ve had to learn more in the past 6 months than I ever could have imagined. It’s been full of joy and pain and everything in between.
This afternoon as I was grappling with the myriad of thoughts and emotions that cluttered my mind, I had the startling realization that it had been quite some time since I had sat down and written. Blog writing had once been an integral part of my self-care. Much like running is for me now, writing was a sacred time I carved out of my week to be alone with my overactive mind. It allowed me to capture my thoughts and reflect on my learning. Writing is powerful and has been extremely transformative in my journey as an educator.
So if writing has been such a powerful and transformative part of my story, why am I not prioritizing it? Out of curiosity I went into my blog archives and found my very first post: My Edtech Journey that was ironically published exactly 5 years ago yesterday. As I began reading, a wave of nostalgia flooded over me and I was brought right back to the exact location in my house where I sat down with my thoughts to write it. In fact, the experiences that I share in that first blog mark a pivotal and transformational milepost that I refer often to when I share my story with others. Then, I reached the last 2 paragraphs and it felt like I had been punched in the stomach at full force.
What is resonating with me is the ending Keynote by inspirational educator and speaker, Angela Maiers. She spoke on courage and facing our fears. She challenged us to share our story, because if we aren’t brave enough to share how are our students going to be brave enough to share theirs. Her parting words were “You Matter”. When I thought about that statement, I realized that I struggled with this. I knew I mattered to my family, friends, and students, but what did I have to contribute to the greater world of rockstar educators? What was this small town culinary arts teacher from Oregon even doing in this mix?
So here I am taking another step of courage. I am sharing my story. I’m committing to creating a blog where my successes and failures can be shared. I hope by sharing my story, that other educators in my smaller and larger circle may be brave enough to share their story too. Because, we all really do matter. We are all in the business of changing lives and we all make a difference.
5 years ago I began blog writing as a step of courage. I committed to sharing my successes and failures in hopes that it would help other students and educators be brave enough to share their story too. Never in a zillion years would I have thought that stepping out in courage and writing a blog would have led to so many other courageous endeavors...hosting a weekly Twitter chat, public speaking, writing a book, podcasting, transitioning to a district tech integration specialist role, designing an online workshop, and delivering keynotes. I also would have never imagined I'd love writing as much as I do, or that it would become an incredibly cathartic outlet for me.
This is the part of that original blog post that hit me the hardest....
I knew I mattered to my family, friends, and students, but what did I have to contribute to the greater world of rockstar educators? What was this small town culinary arts teachers from Oregon even doing in this mix?
I wrote this blog 5 years ago, but the honest and embarrassing truth is...the internal struggle is still real. Too often I battle with these very same questions. I know the answer... I tell others often.
We all have our own special magic. We must own it and live it.
And yet, here I am letting self-doubt and fear hold me back from sharing this new chapter of my story. The truth is there are many educators that write better than me and what I have to say won't resonate with everyone. In fact, there may be very few people that even read my posts. That's okay. My story is still worthy of being shared and maybe there is someone out there that it speaks to. Also, writing is my self-care. It unclutters my mind and helps me sort out my thoughts. It allows me to reflect on my journey and capture it in chapters that tell a story. It's therapy for my soul. I may never truly know if or how the chapters resonate with others, but I am so incredibly grateful that the past 5 years of my journey have been marked in my blog archives so that I can remember the incredible path that lead me to finding my own special magic.
Today on November 29th 2020, 5 years from my first blog post, I am making a promise to myself. I will recommit once again to step out in courage and share my successes and failures with the world through my writing. Because, writing is good for my soul and maybe by revisiting courage I will help others find their magic and share their story too.
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.