I am not very brave but …

2010-11-05 14.11.08… I have learnt, through many accidents, mishaps and life in general … that if I am scared of something, that usually, if I look it in the eye, take a deep breath and jump right in, that my fears are largely unjustified.

When I am scared, I think of Anna, in the “King and I” who whistles a happy tune or better still of Ogden Nash’s ‘Isabel’ – a remarkable girl who faces four fearsome foes AND doesn’t worry, scream or scurry. I admire her courage, spunk and humour. I want this for my offspring, students and myself.

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. Fortunately, for most of us these threats are not usually real but only perceived.

In teaching most of my fears have been things like; what if I can’t control the class? What if the students hate this lesson and refuse to engage with what I have planned? What if the internet isn’t working and plan B doesn’t work either?

I think the scariest day of my teaching life was when I had my first casual day at the school where I am still teaching. This was twelve years ago. I walked in having answered the call of a desperate Assistant Principal. I had spent the previous eighteen years raising our family – which is what women once had to do before maternity leave was a reality – and winged the day using a picture book as the basis for all lessons covering most KLA’s. Year 1 and I had a great day and the school even asked me back again, and again and again.

Each new year brings new challenges and new fears. Learning how Twitter works, introducing iPads into my lessons and encouraging students to use Edmodo were my new tricks for last year.  Joining chats with other educators around the world required me to pluck up enough confidence in myself to think that I actually had something to contribute. This year I want to learn how to code and this blog is also a new learning experience for me. If I have a go then I can encourage my students to try new things as well.

The thing I have found is, that if you have a go and try things, you may make mistakes but you usually find a way to manage. When I face my fears they are never as large or as bad as my imagination leads me to believe. I am not very brave but I am learning not to fear failure.

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