Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Struggle is Real #MTBoS12Days

Today is cold... the high today is forecast to be 30 dF and I'm sitting here thinking about school, trying to decide if I have the motivation to work on lesson plans for next week. 

Blogging & Imposter Syndrome

Earlier this break, I was in a conversation with Sarah (@mathequalslove) and Megan (@mgolding) about the blogging struggle:

Blogging does not come easily to me.  Some people can churn out content on a regular basis and it just seems effortless.  My husband is this way - he's blogged daily for years and can whip out a post in about 30 minutes without a struggle.  I, on the other hand, can take hours to compose a single blog post, then often times I erase it.  This summer, Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter) challenged the people at TMC17 to #pushsend, that our thoughts WERE worth sharing, to not let Imposter Syndrome win.

Yesterday, I shared Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers podcast and one of her recent episodes was on Imposter Syndrome for Teachers.  From the episode:

With blogging, it's easy to say that "oh, it doesn't matter - I blog for myself anyway", but is that really true?  I mean, yes, I do blog for myself in many ways... I use this as a place to create a permanent record of thoughts, especially in terms of what worked (or didn't), goals and accountability, or to remember an idea I had while reading that I don't want to be lost in the mounds of papers on my desk.  But in all honesty, I think most of us blog for other people... we like the validation that comes when people read our words, comment on our posts, or retweet the link.  The MTBoS is fabulous about sharing ideas and resources and being a sounding board for lesson plans.

I struggle with Imposter Syndrome outside of blogging as well.  I think Social Media can be a powerful tool overall, but it's also very easy to compare yourself to others with Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc at our fingertips.  Like other teachers, I drool over the beautiful classrooms, the awesome activities, and find myself lacking in so many ways.

In my classroom, I work hard to create an active learning environment.  I believe that the best classroom management plan is an engaging instructional plan.  I have shared many photos of my classroom on my Instagram #teach180 page but the comment above that says "I just love how active you keep your kiddos" really hit me hard.  The statement is semi-true.  I do try to keep my kids active.  I do try to get them up on the boards, moving around, doing math.  


If you were to look at my Instagram page, you would think we did nothing but activities.  However, for every picture on that page, there is time where we are just doing practice problems or taking notes or some other non-photo worthy moment.  And that's okay!  It's okay to have days where your kids are working on a worksheet.  It's okay to have days when your lesson plan is "unsexy"

I think the #Teach180 initiative is similar to the "One Good Thing" blog.  (Not every day is a good day, but there's one good thing in every day).  Every day, I try to find something that I can take a picture of and that forces me to be a bit more creative with my lesson plans than I would be otherwise.  For me, I've found that when I participate in #teach180 (or #Made4Math or the #MTBoS in general), I am less likely to fall into a teaching rut. 

Maybe you are like me, fighting the urge to erase your blog post, not wanting to share a photo because you are fighting the ugly beast of "who am I to think I'm worthy to share this", but...

(Image source: Pinterest)

1 comment:

GregT said...

Just thought I'd offer something from what might be the opposite end of the spectrum.

First, blogging comes easily to me. WRITING does not. I have zero issues with pushing send, but it can take me hours to craft a post. (Even this comment took me 20 minutes to put together.) I also blog for myself, except I really don't, for while I don't blog practical teaching items, personified math and serials where I want people to vote for the plot are meant to be interactive. After six years, I still have less than a dozen regulars. Oh well. If anything, I've already decided that people KNOW I have no idea what I'm talking about - but I keep putting things out there anyway.

Part of what I remind myself of is the fact that even things which we think are obvious, that everyone must already know about (like unit circles), are actually new to someone. You never know.

Second, I feel like MOST of what I do is new and original... and particularly useless. Math songs? Math comics? That's not something someone else can adapt. What's the point in even putting it out there? (I tell myself entertainment, but educators are more keen on things they can use with VNPS and VRG, and I don't have that.) The rest of my stuff is as pedestrian as everyone else, SmartBoard files that I update semester to semester. The fact that you're sharing teaching ideas and trying to find a good picture day is probably more useful, particularly for solidarity with others who are trying to do the same.

I think some of it is the company one keeps in social media. I have quite a mix - including many other creative types who also feel inadequate. So I make a point to sometimes post about "unworthy things", with the thought that it might elevate others who do better. (It's probably terrible marketing...) Not all the time (I hope), as there may be others looking up at me. That's often harder to spot. We tend to look up more than we look down.

Anyway, this comment started to ramble, but no point erasing it now that it's written. As always, your mileage may vary. Kudos on doing the MTBoS 12 days!