It’s unsettling. It’s got me wondering what I’m doing and how I get myself into these things.
I’ve been pushed and pulled into new and interesting spaces. I’ve been encouraged to share and talk in places and spaces that are new to me. It’s leaving me feeling very much out of my comfort zone. I need to recognize my culpability in this process. I’ve allowed this to happen. I could easily say no and the comfort of familiarity will surround me. But that’s ultimately why I accept the challenge, why I agree to do it. These opportunities change me. They are catalysts for my continued learning.
This week I’m participating in Research and Innovation Week events at the university where I teach. I’ve prepared a poster (for the first time) and a presentation to showcase the work I’m doing in the Faculty of Education. To make this more comfortable and easier on my emotions, I’ve focused on the work and how it improves learning for students. I’ve shifted the focus from me to a ‘third thing’ – the work, the learning, the theoretical foundations behind why and how I teach. With this imposter syndrome lurking in my mind, since I don’t see myself as either a researcher or an innovator, I’m forging ahead to showcase what my students are learning and achieving.
This week I’m participating in a locally organized one day conference for educators (Push Your Learning). It’s a chance to hear about innovative work being done by educators in classrooms since the presenters are teachers sharing their work with students in a variety of contexts and topics. I’m excited to be presenting on topics of interest to me. As part of this conference, there is an Ignite session where I’ve been invited to talk about digital citizenship. It’s all about ‘entertain us and make it quick’. Teachers talk in front of people all the time. I’ve presented at conferences more often than I can remember. But this Ignite is causing some discomfort. The idea of talking to a large group, with 20 slides that I’ve created, for 15 seconds per slide, for a 5 minute engaging presentation is pushing me way out onto thin ice. I’m more about conversation than presentation so this is definitely an uncomfortable place. But I’m learning lots about myself, my interests, my topic, and the logical flow of ideas as I prepare for this event. Is there a place for Ignite style presentations as part of teaching and learning?
I’ve been participating in a MOOC that has me exploring some uncomfortable truths about a shared Canadian story. It’s a course exploring Reconciliation through Indigenous Education from the University of British Columbia. It’s week five and despite the challenging topics, ideas and materials, I’m learning in this uncomfortable space. I’ve taken on this challenge because of my #oneword for 2017. Allyship is meaningless without gaining some perspective. My understanding is shifting as I learn with others about Indigenous history, world views, and how learning happens in traditional ways.
Beginning tomorrow, the month of March will shift me into the uncomfortable space of drawing as a means of expression. I’m picking up the challenge from Heather Theijsmeijer to join into the #DoodleADay event proposed by Royan Lee. I’ve decided to try this challenge to push myself into using my Instagram account with purpose and to re-ignite my sketch noting that started after attending a session with Sylvia Duckworth and reading Nick Sousanis’ blog posts. Let’s see what creativity evolves.
As I walk through these uncomfortable spaces and events, I remember that I’m only in them because of choices I’ve made. I’m here by design. I am learning and experiencing which makes it all worth while.
What’s getting you out of your comfort zone?
Where are you going to chose to participate that makes you feel a little uncertain?
What choices will you make to keep learning and exploring?