Fine, I admit it. I am a wimp. I bite my tongue, swallow my words, and cower behind the mute button in and out of the digital world. I worry more about the consequences of speaking the truth with no filter than I do about letting the truth set me free. I overthink, overanalyze, and over scrutinize until I am literally and figuratively over it. But then, in the shadows of my actual real-life outside of these often stifling educational walls, I find my voice. I put pen to paper and let out every emotion, every rant, and every exasperated curse I wish to unleash upon a system that has stifled my identity in so many ways. I find freedom in ways I could never dream of back in that place that sometimes feels like it choking the sanity out of me. How is it that I feel more comfortable talking to people I don’t even know instead of in a place I have spent over a third of my life in a professional career? How is it that I find safety in unknown spaces with people I just met through a shared desire to empower teachers? How do I just now feel more appreciation for my efforts than any award or accolade I have ever received? It could be the like minds, or common goals and even the sense of belonging that comes when one can be truly open and honest. Now, would I have ever been brave enough to say these words out loud in public?
Because I am a wimp.Now that I have said it, the reality of this existence has made the teacher inside me heed my own words I so often preach to my students.
Find a solution.
Be called to action.
Use your voice.
These clichés reverberate in my brain like the echo of epiphanies teachers have on a daily basis. Will I wallow in the uncertainty of uncharted waters, becoming of true beacon of change? Will I delve into the deep, dark abyss of possibly being labeled one of “those teachers” who constantly seek out “good trouble”? Will, I ever find the tremendous strength that lies deep in my weakness, and finally, learn to use this platform as one that shakes up this broken educational system from the inside out? Only time will tell. Until then, I will acknowledge my wimpy status. I will no longer contribute to the continued failures of this flawed institute.
Change begins with me. To anyone who has grown tired of sitting in the back, waiting for the right moment to comment, to interject, or to disagree, I see you. Embrace all that has come with being that “wimpy teacher” who safely just went along to get along. Ponder those fundamental questions that spurred this radical transition. What did you observe, what did you learn, and what did you vow to change one day? That day has come my friend. We atmosphere breakers, system re-shapers, and institutional change-makers must boldly walk into our calling. No need to fear oh powers that be, as we have learned that fear can be a healthy motivator. We have awakened from our former “wimpy” slumbers. Some took weeks, years, or even decades. It does not matter how long the journey has taken, just know we have arrived. Be confident in this, there is nothing more powerful than a teacher who has found their voice.
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