Recently I stopped by a classroom of a former colleague that I hadn’t seen in awhile. We chatted about our new positions and our passion for education. Then as our conversation came to a close he said something that made me pause, “Tisha, you’ve changed. You’re not the same timid, nice person that you used to be.” I wasn’t sure how to take his comment at first. However, I knew what he meant. I felt it too. I wasn’t the same. Hopefully I am still "nice", but I definitely am no longer the timid Tisha that was once fearful of sharing my voice. I am more courageous, passionate, and confident. I have become an empowered educator. Still, something about what he said continued to perplex me, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was exactly. Throughout the week the words of my colleague continued to swirl around in my head. Then one night as I was watching The Voice finale, a line from one of my favorite songs from The Greatest Showman, This is Me, made my swirling thoughts fly into formation.
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
-excerpt from lyrics, This is Me
Songwriters: Justin Paul / Benj Pasek
This Is Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
As I let the lyrics resonate, I realized what had me perplexed. Was it really that I had changed or had I become more of who I was meant to be, more fully me?
Courage. Passion. Confidence.
Those three words are powerful, but when combined become explosive dynamite that empowers. When I reflect on the song lyrics I think about my journey. With each leap I’ve taken to create a better learning experience for my students, I’ve become more courageous. Every magical moment in my classroom has ignited my passion. Each person who has believed in me has given me confidence. That doesn’t mean, however, that I am not bruised. It’s been challenging and I’ve fallen at times. In fact, I’ve fallen more times than I can count and have bruises to prove it. Though, each bruise is proof of my relentless pursuit to infuse joy and passion into teaching and learning and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom. It no longer matters to me if people approve, or think I’m crazy. I believe with every ounce of my being that magic happens when joy enters a classroom. I have seen firsthand what happens when students become immersed and empowered learners. I am not perfect. My classroom is not always magical. I don’t have all the answers. But, I have experienced what magic feels like, and I want to share it. No, actually I don’t want to share it... I have to share it.
Too many students leave school each day without experiencing the magic of learning. Too many teachers leave school each day so tired and stressed that they have run out of pixie dust and don't know where to find more. I am not scared to be seen, I make no apologies for what I believe. I am passionate about making learning magical for all students. I want to help empower my students with courage, passion, and confidence so they can become more fully who they were meant to be. Education needs my voice. Education needs your voice. Have I changed? I don’t know that I’ve fully answered that yet, but I do know I am more fully me.
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.