Today I woke up with a stomachache. I know the cause. Stepping out of my comfort zone causes me all sorts of stress. Over the years, I have tried to attack this type of stress like a Bandaid - just pull it off quick and you won't notice the pain! :) My friend, Tenille, challenged me to participate in the Slice of Life Challenge. I am a writing teacher, so this should be a breeze. Oh wait. Yes I teach writing, and somewhere in a deep corner of my heart I may have considered writing for other people to see, but blogging every day for a month is giving me a giant case of nerves and doubt. What if I fail at this? Are there "rules" for blogging? What will happen if no one looks at my blog, will I get my feelings hurt? How will anyone even know it is out there? What if, heaven forbid, I make a grammar or spelling error??? Yikes! After all, I am the self-imposed grammar queen of my school, so I would imagine there will be someone out there looking for mistakes in my commas or semicolons...
All of this discomfort about sharing my writing with the world leads me back to my students. If you are a teacher, you know how most things you do in life wind up reminding you of a student, lesson, or class. While I sit here riddled with doubts, I am reminded how often my own students have probably sat in my classroom with the same feelings running through their bodies. Have I been the teacher who alleviates those fears and empowers them to give it a try? I hope so. I preach to them all year that words are power. Words give them the ability to change themselves or the world. I know that every year I watch my students in June, full of their newly complete 4th grader selves, reflecting on their early writing pieces with awe and laughter at how "bad" they felt they were. They are then able to look at those pieces through an editor's eye and see the errors or places that some revision would have been a good idea. We talk about how they weren't "bad", they just didn't know everything they needed to be a fourth grade writer back in August. I know they learn, I just hope that they also felt like I was in their corner, and they could do anything with the power of words.
I'm going to thank my friend, Tenille, for challenging me (as she always does) to move away from where I am most comfy and at least try to share some of what I see and feel as I move through this month. I know it won't be perfect (I'm going to try and deal with that) and there will be some errors (please forgive them).
Wish me luck!!