We, teachers, change the mindsets of self-doubters, instill a lifelong love of learning for many, care for the children of others as if they’re our own, and play a major role in creating all other professions. Yet, despite those superpowers, many of us have heard or uttered the phrase ourselves, “But I’m just a teacher,” when we’ve been encouraged to pursue leadership opportunities beyond our classrooms, schools or districts.
I’ll confess that I’ve used that phrase at various points during my career as an educator. While it might be difficult to determine why educators are often less confident in the value of their input, the self-doubt is real.
It took me a while to feel comfortable with Twitter. I opened a personal account years ago, but I just didn’t see what all the buzz was about.
Once my district started encouraging teachers to build their Professional Learning Networks, however, I reluctantly created a professional account. I was a little skeptical that it would be more of a distraction and less of a genuine resource, but it didn’t take long to convince me otherwise. I only spend an average of five minutes a day on Twitter, and in that short time, I find new ideas, get the most recent news in education, research the latest best practices, discover the most cutting-edge apps and read inspirational quotes that remind me why our job is so important.
Each year our school hosts a Veterans Day assembly and breakfast. After this year’s assembly, a number of students shared how they were surprised and excited to see my military photo during the slideshow tribute. Some were shocked and amused to see a serious looking and clean shaven Master Sergeant Harris instead of their bearded and smiling classroom teacher, Mr. Harris. I suppose the topic of my 22 years of military service and transition to teaching isn’t something I routinely discuss with students.
Teaching is a family tradition for many educators. That’s not my story.