Let me just get this out of the way now . . . above the fear that I will not be successful (because I can deal with failure), I fear that I will be successful. For example, I have always been grounded in reading and writing. I knew in first grade with Ms. Wendy Wooley that I would become a teacher. As sure as I am sitting in my home office and typing, I knew that I would be on the other side of that teacher’s desk one day.
There is another side of me though. There is the person who wants to write. It is silly – I, more than anyone else, know that if I want to write, I can write. I do, but I am also scared to write. I realize how this sounds . . . a writing teacher who is scared to write. That’s like a uni bomber who is scared to die, or a Navy Seal that is afraid of water, or a stand-up comedian who is scared of public speaking. Nevertheless, I am afraid to write because I fear I will be successful. What if I am successful? Then what will I do? Will I still teach? How will I balance family, teaching, writing, etc.? And it continues to spin out of control . . .
This makes me think about my students. Are they scared to learn? I know they are scared to write. If I am scared to write, I know they are. They show their fear by asking questions, wanting the teacher to read their papers just to see if what they have written is okay. As a teacher this has often annoyed me in the past, but I do understand where they are coming from. How are students supposed to know what we expect out of them if we are not clear with our expectations? — On a side note, I have a whole other idea about expectations, but I digress.
I need to express my fear to my students. I need to channel this fear into better instruction, communicating with my students that it is okay if the is not perfect; and it is okay if I do not agree with your opinion.
Furthermore, I need to accept this is a fear for myself and tackle it. I’m not going to let a bunch of “What if’s” keep me from being who I have always had a burning desire to be. I’ll cross those bridges of conflicts in my schedule and life choices and changes when I get to them. Besides, if that is the worst thing that happens out of living my dreams, is it really that bad? Ahh, anxiety; she’s a bitch!
I would like to explain what I am not afraid of in this exploration of fear. I am not afraid of disappointing anyone, embarrassing anyone, stirring up anger in anyone, or being wrong. I am not afraid of what my friends, family or peers will think of me. I am not afraid of controversial issues, disagreements or differences in opinions.
I think the underlying factor in my fear is the consequence(s) that will occur once I begin. For example, knowing myself and my integrity, I am not above (or below, for that matter) stating the truth, even when people do not want to hear it, even when it is not politically correct, even if it goes against the grain of what has been my existence up until this point. When it has been written, I cannot take it back. That will inevitably come back to haunt me and the ones I love (which is my biggest concern). I do not want my loved-ones to have to suffer because of my choices.
So, there . . . it is out there. I have said it. It has been written. Now we will see what happens.
These question remain:
- How will I utilize/teach/explain this fear in the classroom?
- What are my writing goals?
- How can I use this fear to connect/empathize with my students?