Exposing My Vulnerabilities

In the middle of June, after attending a workshop by George Couros (@gcouros), I made a commitment to myself to begin publishing my thoughts, reflections and questions on a blog. Well here it is, the middle of August and nothing has been done. It isn’t that I didn’t want to get on with it, I had put together my ‘About Me’ page about 3 weeks ago, but I have been hesitating to take this risk.  Putting my thoughts out to the global community means that I need to be very aware of what I say and the learnings I want to share. It means that I open myself up to  judgement but it also means I open myself up to the knowledge and sharing of others.

In November of this past year I was introduced to Brene Brown through a TED talk in my university course. Her session was entitled “The Power of Vulnerability” and the key message conveyed was that vulnerability “appears to be the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love.” But it is also “the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness”. Watching this TED talk, as well as her follow up discussion a few months later, “Listening to Shame“, had a monumental impact on who I am and what I want to do in the classroom. As I continue to hesitate to take the risks of creating a published blog, revealing my thinking, my worries, my questions around students and their learning and my own struggles within  my learning, her words ring in my mind about exposing our vulnerabilities as they are not a sign of weakness but rather something that is courageous.

Brene also spoke, in her second talk, about how many of us feel the need to present ourselves as perfect. But if we are to find the core of happiness and creativity then we need to be vulnerable; to be vulnerable we need to admit we are not perfect. This idea has been magnified for me in many ways this past year. Going back to school to further my education has caused many moments of stress, anxiety and  feelings of “do I know anything at all?” Incorporating technology on a daily basis has also brought up insecurities and struggles. For me to evolve I needed to show that I did not know it all, and that often times the students were quicker at learning a skill then I was. Talk about exposing vulnerabilities.

I found it very interesting during my course work this year that my peers were hesitant to share their thoughts not only in class, but also on our blog site. Ultimately what my peers were feeling in our class is exactly what most of our students feel each day. They are hesitant to share because they do not wish to sound ‘dumb’, they are taking a risk in their learning. So here I am wanting my students to take risks, to open themselves up to failure to ultimately grow as a learner by sharing openly in class and by writing blogs that communicates thinking, questions and reflections  yet I am  not doing so well at being their role model; I need to push myself to try new things, and look to others to help me be better.

This is why I am taking a risk of writing a blog – I want to inspire my students to take those same risks as the rewards of growth will far outweigh the moment of fear. To take a risk, to show our vulnerabilities is to be courageous.

This blog will be a place that I can reflect on my journey of implementing Genius Hour and attempting Project Based Learning. It will be my place to reflect on my continued exploration and growth around Assessment For Learning, as well as establishing ePortfolios with my students.  I will also be looking for feedback on my journey, to seek advice from those who have already travelled this path. This will be a place that I will be taking risks to share my own vulnerabilities as an  educator as I hope this will allow me to be a role model to my students and to others teachers who have been hesitant to ‘dive in’ and to ‘dare greatly’.

Do you agree with Brene Brown in that we need to accept and be open about our vulnerabilities if we wish to be truly happy and fulfilled? I look forward to reading  your thoughts.