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.


18 thoughts on “Exposing My Vulnerabilities

  1. Anne-Marie this is fantastic. You are stepping out of your place of comfort and into the unknown world of blogging. While it may be a bit scary at first it will help you better understand why you are blogging with your students. For me I have found that when I take the time to write down my thoughts I have a much clearer idea of what they really are. Sometimes my posts take hours to write, while other times I can’t type them fast enough. But in either case I know it’s important to share with the world because you just never know who I might inspire along the way. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging. I can’t wait to follow along on your journey. Karen

    • Thanks, Karen, for being the first to tweet and one of the first to respond! When my husband asked why I would do this blog one of the first things I said was that through my learnings I hope to inspire others. I cannot imagine what this year will bring but I know it will give me much to talk about and share. I hope to be brave enough to share not only the successes, but also the not so successes. I am looking forward to this new journey as I know it will help me grow and connect as a learner.

  2. Congratulations on your first blog post! I also blog about my education experiences and thoughts but by no means am I a prolific blogger.

    I really enjoyed listening to your voice in the writing. I do not know you of course but I could hear your voice telling the story.

    Yes, I agree that it is a bit frightening to share yours thoughts with the world. I didn’t even share my blog post with my own colleagues right away.

    Thanks for your post and for successfully letting yourself be vulnerable.

    • Thank you for your reply to my post. I had to smile when you said that you did not share your blog with your colleagues as I was not quite sure if I wanted to share with my husband right away. He opened up my ipad and saw my twitter feed and wondered what people were retweeting of mine! He has now read my first post and I am feeling better about it all. Thanks again.

  3. Anne,
    Wow. First, let me answer your question- yes. I agree that we need to show our vulnerability. One of the things that struck a chord with me was this – “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’.” At a very difficult time in my life three years ago, I was asked, “When are you vulnerable? When do you show your vulnerability?” I walked away from that question, not understanding what he meant. Some days later, I had an instance where I showed my vulnerability, was hurt because of it, and then understood completely. I have since made the commitment to go back to my “old self” (translation – younger, more innocent and ignorant self), and put my trust in people by being true to myself – that meant being vulnerable once again. This has taught me that most people will accept me for who I am – as long as I am true to myself. And those that hurt me when I am vulnerable will not get my company much longer.

    And here’s what also struck me about your blog… “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.” 🙂 YES. Good for you.

    I love your writing. I hope writing on this blog, for you and for the world audience, encourages you to write even more, and most especially encourages OTHERS (teachers and students alike) to write their own thoughts.

    Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for your contribution. I am lucky to think of you as my friend, even though we have never met. I have learned so much from you. Keep it up – bring it on!


    • Joy,
      You have been one of my inspirations to move forward with this new learning journey. Thank you so much for your openness in your own blogs and on twitter. I have to echo what you said in your first paragraph about people accepting the real you and moving away from those who don’t. This is something I have had to learn with maturity. Not always easy to do, but much healthier for all.

      Thank you again for all your words of wisdom you have given me this summer as I have delved into making more connections and for being someone who I trust even though we have not met.

  4. Congratulations on launching what looks to be an interesting, important blog. You’re a very good writer, at least in part because you dare to go beyond your comfort zone.

    Acknowledging one’s vulnerabilities is just another way of saying, I’m not perfect–but I’m working on it. As we try to get better and better at this teaching way of life, it’s important for us to grow. In order for that to happen, we need to keep taking stock of where we are, and that includes acknowledging our vulnerabilities. Today’s vulnerabilities can become tomorrow’s strengths, but only through the kind of introspection and reflection that you’re modeling here so well.

    Thank you for your insights, honesty, and demonstration of courage.

    Keep going.

    • Thank you for your thoughts and support of my first post.

      It has been a struggle to accept that imperfection is okay and that, as you say, accepting and acknowledging our vulnerabilities “can become tomorrow’s strength”. I love the way you have stated this as it is such a positive spin at looking at something that sometimes feels not so good. I hope to continue to be honest with my own struggles and successes as a learner as I know too often in this profession people would rather close their doors than to put a call out for support.

      Thanks again.

  5. I love this –>

    “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.”

    It is so important that we embody what we want from our kids in these spaces. It is so much easier to talk the talk, and not walk the walk. I am glad that you are choosing to do both! Much harder but you will find a greater reward. Thank you for being transparent in your learning.

    • Thank you for starting me on this journey back in June when you visited the “Movers and Shakers” of Surrey. You motivated me to expand my learning networks and take some risks in sharing my learning.
      There were many days last year when I had to put my pride aside and show my students what it is like to stumble in learning. A year of tremendous growth for all of us.

    • Parker Palmer was one of the influences in my post after reading a chapter from ‘Courage To Teach’. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. I’m SO glad you’re blogging, Anne-Marie! Thank you for this thoughtful and honest post! It’s amazing how often we ask students to perform tasks we wouldn’t want to! Can’t wait to read more as you continue with the wonderful world of blogging! You have a lot of fantastic knowledge to share! 🙂

    • Thank you for your on-going support. It has been quite an experience to get the blog up and running – lots of nerves to overcome. I am excited to see where this takes me in my own reflective process!

  7. I have been feeling exactly the same way… encouraging risk taking in my students yet remaining too self-conscious to start my own blog. Thank you for an inspirational post at a time when I’m just trying to throw myself into the world of sharing and learning from our experiences and our mistakes!

    • I hope that this will help you push that publish button. It was very difficult the first time but honestly felt great once it was done. It is important that we are role models for our students and if we are encouraging them to leave a positive digital footprint, then we need to do them same. Good luck.

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