Finding my voice

Finding my voice

I have had several key moments in my career when someone has nudged me towards a new opportunity or identified a strength or quality that I hadn’t necessarily seen in myself at that time. That someone has been a colleague, adviser, line-manager, boss, and sometimes a friend too. I am grateful to these people for giving me encouragement and the opportunity to contribute, lead and influence at a range of levels beyond the walls of my own classroom. I hope that I do the same for others. I now see that all of these experiences continue to help me form my views and develop some kind of wisdom that can be brought to bear on whatever the educational issue at hand may be. I still suffer occasional bouts of imposter syndrome (more here) but I think I’ve found my voice.

Too much to Tweet

Most of these experiences were before we had the technological tools to allow us to effectively connect very far beyond the geographic boundaries of our local area. Now, through the wonder of Twitter, these geographic and institutional constraints on dialogue have disappeared. Having lurked for months and consumed the generous contributions of others, I finally jumped into the Twitterverse in May 2013 with my first tweets during the 3rd National Coaching Conference for Educators. My journey as a connected educator started that day. From there I decided to start sharing what I found during the development of my school’s coaching model as well as my own learning in this area. I’ve now been through all of the phases of twitter evolution and my worldwide PLN continues to grow. Through participation in chats alongside a myriad of generous educators (big shout-out to the great people at #educoach and #satchatoc) I now feel more connected and supported, and at times energised and affirmed, than at any other stage in my career. As the connections and conversations have deepened I have started to feel that, although I still love Twitter for what it is, there’s sometimes just too much to Tweet!

Maybe I’m not just blethering and havering

The process of sharing my opinions and entering into dialogue with others (in 140 characters) has led to connections with many fantastic people, several of whom I’ve been privileged to meet in person and expand the conversations using our real voices! The power of voice has also come to the fore in an interesting way through a bit of dabbling in Voxer initiated by the fabulous @stringer_andrea with a group of trusted PLN friends. The extra dimension that this has brought to conversations has been fascinating. I can really ramble on there!

@mesterman, me & @cpaterso (@stringer_andrea on other end of camera!)

Meeting @mesterman (left) and @cpaterso (right) – @stringer_andrea on other end of camera!

I have been very humbled and honoured by the endorsement and encouragement that I’ve received from people whose views and talents I respect and admire. I’ll inevitably miss someone but the key people that you have to blame for this blog are:

  • Jon Andrews @jca_1975
  • Donelle Batty @dbatty1
  • Corinne Campbell @corisel
  • Aaron Davis @mrkrndvs
  • Cameron Paterson @cpaterso
  • Edna Sackson @whatedsaid
  • Andrea Stringer @stringer_andrea

The final indication that others think I have something worthwhile to share, and actually do make sense some of the time, was the invitation from Corinne Campbell (@corisel) to host the @edutweetoz account late last year. I had been connected to Corinne on Twitter and Voxer for a while and was very flattered when she suggested that I do a stint on the account. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, made lots of new connections, shared loads and learned loads.

Sharing my learning journey

So my plan is to continue sharing my learning journey here. I’ll be writing about coaching, professional learning, leadership, professionalism, and anything else that’s on my mind. I hope that what I share is of use to others in some way but if it’s not then I’ll be happy just to reflect and capture my thoughts for myself. I’ll put it out there and see what happens…. Thanks for reading!

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9 comments

  1. What a great first blogpost. Thanks for sharing Chris. I do think you are a bit of an imposter though, evident through the fact that Sydney educators wear ties and you seem to spend most of your time dressed casually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cameron. I appreciate your support. And just to set the record straight for everyone – I was having a dress-down-day at a PD course while the very smart Sydney educators were at work! It’s fully suited and booted every day at my school. I’ll try to match your high standards of sartorial elegance next time we meet – I might even try a beard 😉

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  2. Great first post, Chris, and it LOOKS as if it was effortless! Look forward to reading all that you have to share.
    No-one wears a tie at my school except the principal and the IT people who are employed by an external company. (What do you think that tells you?)

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    1. Thanks Edna. It takes me a while to get “in the zone” and articulate my thoughts – I’m not a natural writer. But then that’s part of why I’m doing this. I’ve found that when I’ve worked on big development projects that it helps to capture ideas and progress to date at stages along the way. As you know, I also like to do this visually when dealing with potentially complex ideas or systems. I’ve found that this gives a point of reference to come back to. I plan to draw on some of these “markers” or mile-stone documents in future posts.
      Re. dress-codes for teachers – professionalism, perceptions, tradition, values, politics, business, hierarchy, power, image, trust, boundaries, relationships, conformity….. that’s a discussion for another day!

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    1. Thanks Aaron – that means a lot coming from a blogger-extraordinaire such as yourself!
      Thanks too for the link to your post and Doug’s link. Imposter syndrome is fascinating. I know others who have it bad and the challenge is helping them to manage it. I think it does have something to to do with humility and that’s not a bad thing. I’d need to read more on the subject but I wonder if certain personality or work-preference types are more prone to it? Maybe even typically self-deprecating Scots are more susceptible? Is it more prevalent in creative people or those with a growth mindset? Another thought is that, just as we often don’t know what our teaching practice looks like, perhaps we don’t often look at the reality of our skills and attributes that our peers see and experience but we take for granted as nothing special? ….. Hey! This blogging thing is working already 🙂

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