When was the last time you had an idea you wanted to share so bad that it literally burned to wait to share it? That was me the last few weeks. After a year filled with so many emotions, changes, heartaches, stressors — I could go on; I had an idea that I wanted to present to my colleagues. It burned my insides while I tried to patiently wait to share. Now, anyone who knows me is well aware of my impulsivity. When I have an idea or thought, it almost immediately comes out of me like a bat out of …

All this year, I served as a science teacher and math instructional coach. While a normal schoolyear certainly comes with its fair share of anxiety and stress, this one in particular took quite a toll on myself and colleagues. I’m a helper. I will do almost anything for anyone just to put their mind or heart at ease. Oftentimes it’s not because I was asked, it is because I see a need and I just do what I can to infiltrate and make a situation better. This is not at all meant to toot my own horn, it’s to set the scene for you with this particular post. As I was saying, this year was particularly difficult and I spent a lot of my time doing what I could for my colleagues to help. I also spent a lot of time reflecting on what they really needed. They did not necessarily need me to create lesson plans, slideshows, exit slips, assessments, spreadsheets, etc — they needed more — but what is it? I had been making all of the aforementioned for them, but those are temporary aids. They needed something bigger — but what. To me, what it came down to was actually quite simple.

They needed to get back to their “why”. Why is it you teach? What are you passionate about within the world of education and perhaps more importantly in life. They (and let me be honest, me too!) needed to peel everything back and get to the basics. What drives you?

Awesome, I had my answer, but now what? How do I do that? How do I help them (and me!) get back to our “whys”?

My ideas ranged from happy hours together to a big conference like set up at our school where we could share our expertise together. I was fighting so many fears here though thinking, “With the way things went this year, would anyone even want to try something? Will anyone join me in my idea(s)?” I was confident one second and completely terrified the next.

I settled on a book study that would be completely optional, using the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. I wrote a funding proposal to our Parent Association pitching my idea to purchase the books. I told no one about my idea; still terrified and anxious about the idea and also trying not to get too excited in case my idea was not chosen for funding. All of this was going on, on top of the usual end of year teaching stress, and worst of all, I wasn’t ready/able to talk about it. Yes, that last part was my own fault, I consciously made that choice; I felt it was necessary though.

The day came that I found out this idea and another I proposed were indeed chosen for funding. Yes!

Wait, now I actually have to pose the idea to colleagues — no pressure (total joke, in case you aren’t following my humor!). I still am scared to death that I will be the only one willing to do this book study. How will I pose the idea? How will I reach my colleagues? After the year we experienced together, how will I be able to join them together to do something extra, something not at all necessary for their classrooms, during the summer…cue racing heart again. What did I get myself into?

I met Dave Burgess in 2015, after I read Teach Like a Pirate myself and he was a keynote speaker!

I reached out to Dave Burgess, the author and told him “what I had done” and asked if he would do me a favor. I was preparing what I would say that might inspire colleagues to join me in a book study, but I felt like one more thing might be the kicker — what if Dave made a video specifically for my school? Maybe, just maybe THAT would be the icing on the cake; the point that would push them to take action. He did. He made a video for my school, I spoke from my heart to my colleagues, and shared my selfie with Dave.

Guess what?

They jumped on board! Every. Last. Teacher. I’m not just talking about general classroom teachers, I am talking Teaching Assistants, Specialists, Curriculum Director, Head of Lower School. . .everyone.

My colleagues SECONDS after choosing to join me in the book study. And of course, me with my pirate bandana!

Now that I think back on this event, I still feel the fear, but I also beam with pride. I can’t wait to take this journey with my colleagues. . .ARGHHHHH Mateys!

So tell me. . .when was the last time you had a big idea, so big it literally scared you. . .and you just went for it?

#ExpeditionSchnekser #OutdoorEdCollective #BoilingRiver #EducatorExplorer she/her #scitlap Founder @OutdoorEdColl National Geographic Grantee