I encourage risk taking from day one with students. I dare them to try new things and to experiment with the unknown. Yet, during my first five years as an educator, I avoided being a risk taker in a way. I was the bobblehead-nodder, the "hmm, yep, mmm," and the "I agree" person. I had an opinion but,due to a lack of confidence and wanting to play it safe among colleagues and my community, I shared silence.
I look back now and notice the failure to share my opinion for the safety of being neutral. I notice the absence of not knowing and instead had faith in others to know. I kept my opinions about the future of education quiet.
To take on educational policy meant I had to have a voice. I needed to be the risk taker I dared my students to be. To do this meant I must take a leap.
The first step was hard. I had spent my first years on a curriculum chain tied so closely to what occurred in my classroom and eventually the school's community, but never involved myself in national educational issues. I stayed in my bubble.
What changed? My bubble was popped. I began work on my Master's degree and experienced new dialogues. My environment transformed, along with my real-world awareness of equity and social justice in schools.
I see growth in confidence, but I also acknowledge I have a long way to go. I am ready to learn even more. I invite you all to do the same. It is my obligation as an educator to make sense of what others are deciding for the future of education and to share my thoughts. Our voices need to be shared.
Here is your invitation to go to an unknown land. Perhaps you are already comfortable as an individual with tackling policy, but your expertise can help others.