The title of this post is from Julia Cameron, the author of the Artist’s Way, a 12 week program of releasing and encouraging your creativity. It’s a program I engaged in 2017 where so many amazing things occurred. It led to me being less fearful; being more engaged in my own learning; understanding and creating boundaries around my own time. It also led me to support students in this messiness of creativity. I am revisiting the program and engaging in it as I begin 2019, as I am once again leaping into the unknown.
On Wednesday when we return to school for the first time since I left college, I won’t be in an art classroom. I will have an office. I am moving into an academic coaching position. I am both thrilled out of my mind and scared out of my mind. I have dug into what the fear is all about. It’s about all the “normal” things – not being good enough; imposter syndrome; not knowing enough. But it’s also deeper than that, it’s about what my identity is. Do I become less of a teacher by not being in a classroom every day? Am I abandoning the work I so deeply care about because I’m not directly working with students? I don’t know the answer (yet) to these questions but I do know how I feel about folks inside the systems that aren’t in direct work with students – pretty much the same as I do around folks who are in direct care of students. If they are keeping students and equity at the center, being transparent about their shortcomings, and asking lots of questions in order to understand others – then I feel good about that. And that’s where I’m going to start. I keep rolling what my friend Cornelius Minor said to me a few weeks ago, “The bad guys aren’t questioning themselves as they move up in the system.” This is true and necessary to keep at the center. If every single “good person” stays inside the classroom, the system stays at status quo, but if folks who are doing the hard work of systems and equity move into leadership roles, into supporting teacher roles, then real systems work can occur.
So this blog will start to take a different look – one where I am reflecting on my previous practice while examining the practice of support; of questioning; of systems. It will be a place where I am transparent about these questions and share resources that support my own learning. It will certainly shift from what it has been, just as my own learning and life will.