#Slice2013 - Day 5 of 31

No Fear. Anyone remember this logo?

I'd like to throw out a call to action that as educators, we live in a No Fear Zone - no matter what. That we hold true to what we know is right and good for learners, and let go of the fear that drives nonsense instruction. It seems these days that everywhere I look, it's fear that is looking back at me.

Fear of The Test.
Fear of The Budget. (or lack thereof)
Fear of The Administrative Expectations.

Instead of fear driving our decisions, why not ask questions and conduct our own research? Why not stand firm on your research-based beliefs?

I became a teacher not because of what I feared, but because of what I believed. And at the core, those beliefs have not changed. Grown, adapted, flourished. But they will not fall away, because they are at the core of who I am. To deny my beliefs is to deny my self. A teacher without an identity is definitely something worth fearing -- but I will not lose that, no matter what.

I believe that all learners have the right to learn at the pace, ability, and style which works best for them. I believe that all teachers have the right to practice their art in the way which best enlightens their learners, because those needs will change from year to year, day to day, and often minute by minute. This is why teaching is more art than science. Different days require different brushstrokes, different mediums. I believe that when I stand in front of a classroom filled with eager minds or sit elbow to elbow with a fragile writer, it is my obligation and my privilege to treat their learning with empathy and a tender touch. I believe that above and beyond any academic requirement, the best thing I can give my learners each day is a sense of purpose and identity.

I believed this 14 years ago when I first stepped into a classroom and I believe it still holds true today.

I will not compromise my core beliefs.

Show me research. Show me proven instructional techniques and brain-based methods that engage learners. Show me a thriving classroom. Then let those facts guide my instruction.

I became a teacher not because of what I feared, but because of what I believed. I refuse to become a fear-based teacher.

I read about what is going on in our country and wonder why. I listen to teachers complain that they are spending time on things they know do not matter in exchange for expectations they do not understand or condone and I wonder why.

Why do intelligent, creative, professional men and women continue to try on shoes that simply do not fit? Who is the Prince Charming they are trying to win over?

Because this is the truth, and it is the only truth that matters: the only person we should be trying to win over is our learners. Young or old. Their succes as humans on this Earth is the only thing that matters. Not tests, not scores, not ratings, not budgets, not programming or any other thing in a school day that fills a day of learning.

Learners matter.
Learning matters.
People, infant to elderly, they matter.

And our beliefs? Those matter.

If we hold true to what matters, we can't possibly go wrong.

No matter what.


  1. Love this line: "I became a teacher not because of what I feared, but because of what I believed. I refuse to become a fear-based teacher."

    I agree, whole-heartedly, and am with you in sticking to this for the long haul! thanks for sharing your thinking here today!

  2. Thanks, Jen! It's not easy to dig in and hold true when so many other forces are blowing us around every day. :)