Throughout my schooling, I was a very compliant student. I listened well, talked when asked, shared and cooperated nicely, and got favourable comments in all my report cards. I didn’t want to stand out too much. I liked being that nice, little learner in the corner.
As a young first year teacher, I found myself in a brand, new elementary school, surrounded by seasoned experts and passionate educators. Once again, I became that quiet learner listening, observing, watching – soaking it all in. Quietly. At the back of the staff room.
Then one warm fall day, my masterful principal, Bob, asked me a question.
He said, Do you want the kids to like you or respect you?
Well, that was a question, all right! A provocative question. A hard question that made me wonder about what the “right” answer may be. You know, what was the answer he wanted to hear? All my schooling had trained me to pretty much know what the answers would be. But this question?
I started thinking and then I started talking.
The kids should like me, right? No, wait, I think they should respect me. Yes. I’m the teacher! But, I want people to like me. Can they like me AND respect me?
Bob smiled quietly as I tossed these ideas around his office and I finally said, Okay, wait!! There’s no right answer here, is there?
That day we began a series of wonderful conversations that made me question pretty much everything I had experienced in my own school life. All of a sudden, there were so many questions! I found my voice! My rebel voice.
Did we want our students to have the same experience as we had? Why? Why not? How do we examine our practice? Who are our guides? How do we talk in meaningful ways about learning? What do we value? What do we do when we see a disconnect?
The conversations, the reading, thinking, and learning that came from inquirying into these type of questions and topics shaped me and molded me into the teacher/learner I am today. They also released the rebel in me, because for me, a rebel is a question-asking, passionate person who is striving to learn, grow, connect and understand more deeply – and sometimes feel uncomfortable and confused and unsettled like I did that day in Bob’s office.
Even though now I’m on the other end of my career, I’m still that girl who came out of the corner, still asking questions and thinking. And that is what draws me to this shared blog!
I’m excited to hang out here – with like-minded rebels.