Fear vs. Confidence

I’ve been a teacher almost my whole adult life. I began my teaching career straight out of college at the age of 22. I have never taught anything but middle school and I absolutely love teaching that age! [Ask me how I feel about that age when my own girls reach that point :)]

I think that due to the length of time I’ve been in this career, it has greatly increased my confidence in myself that I know what I’m doing, what I’m talking about; and has also helped to establish my reputation as someone who can give parents solid advice as they raise their children. When people hear my name, good things come to their mind as someone who is established in her profession and good at what she does. I don’t say this to brag about myself, I have a point I’m getting to.

When I think about possible changes in my career down the road, I start to feel the first twinges of fear because I will be stepping into something unknown, unexplored and brand new. I have been able to feel secure and confident for so long, that to step outside of that, is intimidating. To feel that I will be in a position where I really won’t know much, at least compared to other people who’ve been in their field for a while, is a daunting thought.

I have never had a problem with telling my students that I don’t know the answer to a question they have. I freely admit that I’m human, fallible and not Google. I am, however, someone with a great deal of experience and therefore, know much of what I need to, both through classes I’ve taken and experience in the classroom. Why then, do I struggle with the thought that I will step into an arena where I will be doing far more learning than teaching? Aren’t teachers always learning? Is it more about the fear of knowing very little as opposed to knowing most things?

It took me listening to a podcast and talking with a friend about this to realize one simple truth: any motivated person is always learning, no one has all the answers. In that simple statement, I gained great confidence that I can try other, new things. Learning can be both a humbling and empowering experience all at once. The learner realizes how much there is to learn while at the same time, experiences the thrill of new-found knowledge and puzzle pieces fitting togther.

I don’t know when my own adventure as the learner will begin, but I can now say with confidence that I am excited and look forward to that adventure!