Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Not Always As It Seems

Photo Credit: Deborah Leigh (Migraine Chick) via Compfight cc

Most of the posts I write on this blog are to share with the world what I am doing in my classroom or what I'm learning from my opportunities. If you've followed along since I began this blog in the summer of 2011 you'll know that I have learned a lot of new things and I've been fortunate to have been involved with many incredible projects. I've changed the way I teach. I've also changed  my thinking around what I believe is best for my students.  But my focus has always been on the little people that greet me at my classroom door each and every day.  It is for them that I work so hard.

But things aren't always as they seem .  There are many days that I am in way over my head and I'm filled with self doubt.  Am I doing what's best for my students? Am I changing too quickly?  Am I expecting too much of myself or my students? I am a high achiever, and good never seems to be good enough.

Twitter has introduced me to some of the most amazing educators ever.  They are educators I can't speak highly enough about. They are true experts in their fields whether it be 1:1 iPad integration, connecting students globally, numeracy instruction, literacy love, or social emotional health.  They push my thinking to places I've never been before.  I have these amazing conversations with them and they literally make my brain hurt.  Literally, headache type hurt, and not typical stress, migraine, or tension type headaches. Brain spinning headaches.

I know that I have people in my district (and beyond) that truly believe in me, and what I am doing in my classroom with my students.  Many take the time to tell me such, and they have no idea how much that means to me.  But far too often I feel that I am doing my thing in isolation.

There are people in my district (and beyond) who cause me to self doubt myself too.  I feel like they are just waiting for me to fail so they can say , "I told you so".    I feel like I am constantly proving myself to them.  It's a weird feeling, and on nights like tonight, it makes me feel sad.

At one time someone innocently said to me that I was getting the opportunities that I was getting because I was a favourite. That hurt, and  it still does.  And I know that it was said with complete innocence. But it makes me wonder, who else is thinking that?  Inside of me I truly believe the opportunities are coming my way because I am working so darn hard.  I am up near the front of the pack, exploring ways that have not been tried by many in my district.  And I am sharing what I'm doing with the world and putting myself in a completely vulnerable position.  I am doing everything I can to help those that are wanting to learn, while at the same time trying to learn as much as I can for myself.  It's a tricky balance point at times.  Most days I think I have the balance figured out, but at times, like this evening, I have my doubts.

Thankfully the only constant in life is change, and this feeling of insecurity shall pass.


  1. Hi Karen

    I met you at one of the primary iPad workshops the district put together in October 2012. That was an important day for me. I found out about you and what you are doing with your grade 1 class. I am a wannabe techie who decided to teach primary after short stints in high school and intermediate classes. I used to think that primary students were limited in what they could do and share. You have taught me that there are NO limits to what they can do. I am doing my best to keep my head above water in my class and I have to tell you that reading your professional blog and the wikispace website are a saving grace. Don't EVER feel that what you are doing is in vain. I am so thankful that you are sharing what you are learning and what is happening in your class. It is a great example and a great encouragement!!!

    From a very appreciative teacher.

    Ms. Carr

    PS - I am starting a Kidblog with my class (Grade 1/2). Wish me luck!

  2. Thank you so much for those kind words. I think it's important for people to know that we are all human and we all go through great and less great times. This past weekend for a variety of reasons, was a less than great one for me. The blog helped me get things out of my system so I could deal with things that really matter to me.

    I am so glad that what I shared with you back in October has made a difference to you. While I love to present and share my journey with others I often receive little feedback other than a thank you. Your feedback has made me smile.

    I hope your kidblog adventures goes well for you. As you know I am a huge fan of kidblog and I love how it keeps my students inspired to learn and share their learning with the world. It makes me smile when I check in and see posts waiting to be moderated. Not because I've asked my students to do something on them for me, but because they want to show the world their learning. That's pretty powerful stuff.

    If you get into any trouble, or want to pick my brain for ideas please don't hesitate to fire me an e-mail or call me at school.

  3. Karen, I think that the fact that you have this self-doubt is part of what makes you an incredible educator. You have these questions because you really want to do the BEST for everyone: most importantly, the kids. You question if you're doing "good enough" because you are a self-directed learner, and you always want to be better. This is what makes you so outstanding!

    I honestly can't say enough wonderful things about you. I was chatting with my principal the other day about Grade 1, and I was actually talking about your program. Everyone around here has heard of you at least once, and knows how much I admire and respect what you do.

    I know it's hard to convince you not to have this self-doubt, but please know that there's thousands of educators, world-wide, that truly admire all that you do. Students are better because of you!


    1. Thank you Aviva.

      Most days I'm pretty confident in who I am and what I am doing with and for my students. But the past few weeks have been a bit tough for a variety of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with my profession. I appreciate your continued support. You were with me at the very beginning of my journey and I will always be thankful for that.

      I'll get through, I always do. Already things seem better today then they did last week. As i said, the only constant in life is change. Upwards and onwards.


  4. Hi Karen,

    I try to read your blog regularly but to be honest I can't get to it everytime. But with what I have seen you are a dedicated teacher and you are always posting great posts on your blog. Today is International Women's Day and I invite you to share your progress which you spoke of in this post with the world You are doing what you believe and progressing each step of the way. Congratulations! You deserve it! Remember to soar with the eagles and not to get bogged down by the naysayers. Keep it up!

    Karen Plumb

  5. Karen, I am so thankful for your work in our district and for introducing we to the wonders of tech just over a year ago. I love that you are pushing the envelope on teaching with the technology available to your students. I love how you are so dedicated to sharing your learning with the rest of us! I look forward to hearing what is working in your classroom and what works for you. I also like trying and learning along with you! Please know that you are not alone! Know that we appreciate you putting yourself out there, even if we don't get to see or comment on all your posts. I do try to keep up!

    1. Thanks Lora. I can assure you, you are one that has been super supportive of me. As you know I LOVE to learn with you and Niki. I love how you share your learning and make me question what I am doing with my kidlets. I need to share our self assessment and move towards peer assessment in grade one. Exciting times, and I thank you and Niki for pushing my thinking there.

      I'll be fine. A rough couple of weeks both professional and personally but a lot of amazing things thrown into the mix too.


  6. Hi Karen. I stumbled upon your blog and am absolutely blown away. You are truly making a difference in the lives of children and adults too. I taught at your school in 2000 and I remember you as being so warm and welcoming-both of which wonderfully reflected in your work with children. I'm not currently in the classroom but I'm so excited to get back and try out some of your ideas-thank you for that gift. Mary Mulleady