WHY I NEED TO STOP FEELING BAD ABOUT SHARING MY OWN SUCCESS
I tweeted a late night thought this week that I really didn't think anyone would notice. It's a tweet I almost deleted because I was afraid people would take it the wrong way, I was worried that it would be misunderstood and it was literally a tweet about my actions being misunderstood.
Sometimes I worry that sharing the ‘wins’ in my class comes across as bragging but really I LOVE when other Ts share the things that go well in their class or the amazing things they’ve tried! I learn so much from celebrating the success of other teachers. Let’s all keep sharing!— Mrs. Byars 🌎 👩🏫 (@mrsbyarshistory) March 26, 2019
I did not expect the number of retweets, comments, or likes this tweet would get and the response to it has left me feeling two very different things. First, I feel uplifted by the support of #edutwitter to continue sharing out the things that happen in my classroom, the lessons I create, and the work I am doing. And at the same time, I also feel really disheartened by the number of teachers who felt exactly the same way.
I've tried to share both the successes and the challenges I have faced in my classroom in the hopes that my trying out something new or different and reflecting honestly on it may help someone else figure out if it will work for their classroom. On Twitter, I share lessons I've created and blog posts I've written not only to share what I've done that works for me or where I have struggled but also to get feedback and suggestions from other educators. My short experience as an educator has taught me that the best resource for teachers is other teachers, regardless of content area or grade level, I often find myself being pushed, inspired, and supported by teachers from all backgrounds and I know I am a better teacher because of these experiences.
But almost every time I go to share a lesson or idea, I hesitate and worry that by posting it others will see it as shameless self-promotion or bragging. I worry that others will think I am trying to brag or show off and this feeling in my gut sometimes stops me from sharing what is happening in my classroom. What's odd is I worry more about this than about teachers being critical of my work. I appreciate critical analysis and feedback because I know it will help me improve and grow as a teacher.
But I think the concern about what people might say about you in the copy room is what keeps many of us from sharing more. I worry that my intentions will be misunderstood and that people won't see that I share for the same reasons I do almost everything in my teaching career: to make the experience in my classroom more meaningful, more engaging, and full of learning for my students.
I know I shouldn't care what others think but it is really hard to know that there are colleagues of mine out there that might not see that the things I do are out of a passion for teaching and learning and if they believe that my intentions are anything but that then how could I ever convince them to engage in conversations with me or collaborate with me to make our classrooms and schools a better place. And maybe that is a "them problem" and not a "me problem" but it is a problem if it keeps educators from coming together to collaborate and work together.
Teaching is not a competition and those of us sharing what is happening in our classrooms aren't out there to win gold stars or recognition. We are sharing our successes so we can learn and grow together. We are sharing our successes because they often mean our students have accomplished something worth celebrating. We are shouting about the positives because this job is hard and we have to share the successes in order to keep our positive momentum going. We have to keep the positives loud and celebrate them so we have the strength and energy to be there for each other when things get tough. And by sharing our successes we can learn and grow together and then maybe each year things will become a little less challenging.
There is a whole other argument to be made here about the need to build our own narrative of education when so many on the outside of education are painting pictures of teachers and schools that are inaccurate and detrimental to our profession, but that topic would take a whole other blog post.
So for now, I am going to stand by my decision to keep sharing as so many amazing educators have encouraged me to do after reading that one little tweet because we are better together, we do our best work when we share and learn from one another, and we can't do those things unless we are willing to open a door into our classroom and share how it is going.
Success in my classroom is not about me, it is about how something was done that can help students learn. I am done feeling bad when I share these stories. I am done feeling worried that others might think I share only for my ego. I share for the kids. I share for my colleagues. I share because I want to hear about your classroom wins and struggles so we can learn and grow together.
Thank you all for the kind words, support, and encouragement. I feel so lucky to be a teacher.