It's October and the weather has finally turned! I personally love the cooler weather. Making a fire in the fireplace, the electric blanket and a nice hot cup of coffee are what make this time of the year special for me.
With the new season, I decided to start something new for DCTA. I am starting a blog. As we build this blog, if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. This will be a place for teachers to share stories, advice or just help each other feel better. This is a tough time, and we are stronger together.
For this inaugural blog I wanted to write about taking a leap of faith without knowing how I was going to land. It's about taking risks and stepping beyond our limits to reach a goal on the other side.
Let me start by saying I have never written a blog before. Writing in general scares me. I think my fear of writing goes all the way back to middle and high school. (I won't spare you with how long ago that was!) I will be the first to admit that I have terrible handwriting. Having poor penmanship definitely hurt my chances when it came to writing. As I grew up through college, word processing and home computers were coming out, and I jumped at the chance. My parents bought me a Mac Plus for college and I still remember the first time a professor allowed me to type my report. It was so freeing. I still struggled with writing, but the handwriting was no longer a barrier.
Throughout college and the first few years of teaching, I did not take any risks or tried anything new. If I didn't know how to do it, I steered clear. I was going through the motions and teaching the lessons given to me. For many years I was happy following along and teaching my students. It was a bumpy ride for sure, but I never stepped beyond the line to take that leap of faith. Then Silverado opened up and I was debating about moving up to middle school.
Back in the 1998-1999 school year, I was teaching a 4/5 combo class at Heritage Oak. Several of my friends applied to teach at the new middle school opening up the next year. This was a difficult choice! As an elementary teacher, the thought of moving to a brand new school, let alone the scary middle school age, was stressful. I spent many afternoons writing out a Positive/Negative Chart with reasons why or why not to move to middle school. It was time to take a leap of faith. I had absolutely no experience in middle school. My whole teaching career I had taught in grades TK through 5th. The idea that I could teach middle school was scary. Then came the self-doubt. "Those middle school kids will be horrible", "I could never teach kids that age", "How many students would I be teaching", and the statements just kept coming. Just as I was about to delete the email to Clark Redfield (The Assistant Superintendent at the time), I was asked to help set up Science Night at Antelope Crossing. I decided that this would be a great opportunity to "test the waters". Could I really enjoy middle school? The answer would be YES!
I had such a great time interacting with middle school students and seeing the projects they were presenting that evening. I left telling myself that it would be worth the risk! For someone who didn't step past the line to see what was out there, this was the moment. I have not once regretted making the decision to move to middle school. Looking back over the past 20 years, it was worth stepping off the edge and trying something that I had no idea how it was going to end.
When people ask me about taking a leap of faith, taking that chance or trying something new, I always refer to the movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". There is one scene towards the end where Indiana Jones has to pass through several traps to reach the Holy Grail. One of them is a leap of faith. He has to cross a giant cavern to reach the entrance. That is like a lot of us. Sometimes we are faced with a giant cavern between us and our goal. Be like Dr. Jones and just take the leap. It may not always land the way to want, but that is what makes it an adventure. In my next blog I will be writing about what it means to have an adventure in education.
Do you have a story you would like to share? Email me (email@example.com) with your idea. You could be the next features blogger for DCTA.