Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Being Brave

Amy here, friends. As the organizer of this whole blogging challenge, I took the liberty of claiming the first "real" post. I hope you all don't mind...

As I always am when I come up with a #kinderchat project, I was a little nervous when I cooked up the idea of us collectively completing NaBloPoMo. 31 posts in 31 days is A LOT of posts. What if this is a dumb idea? What if no one signs up? WHAT IF I HAVE A PARTY AND NOBODY COMES?

Underlying the nervousness, though, was a certain bedrock of faith. I know #kinderchat. This is my home. These are my people. I knew that, if I put up this challenge, there was a core group of people who would volunteer, and another handful that I could probably cajole into participating. I figured we could limp through, if need be. I can write. Heidi can write. All of our moderators can write. Yeah, we could figure something out. As Mardelle said: "Everyone always comes. It's like family."

And then, the signups started. Signups came in from people I didn't know, who didn't know me, who were new to #Kinderchat, who had never blogged. And with their signups came notes: "This is new for me, but it is time to take a risk." "I have never done anything like this before." "I tell my students 'it is good to try new things'." "I don't know what I will say, but I want to try this." "I'm not sure I'm ready to HAVE a blog, but I want to try writing..." Other signups came, from longterm #kinderchat heroes, celebrities in the world of early childhood social media. Wow. WOW. I mean, extended a challenge to My People. Many of you accepted a challenge from... a stranger.

The notes made me think about what I was asking of you people: "Please, give me your name and your e-mail address, and then WRITE something, and send it to me, and trust me to edit it, and then let me post it where GOD ONLY KNOWS HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL READ IT, and maybe discuss it, and comment on it, and possibly even criticize it." Jebus, it's like I asked you to get naked in front of the Interwebz, isn't it?

And the thing is: YOU DID IT. You took a deep breath, signed yourself up, and committed to writing something. (You did not ACTUALLY get naked. Although, if you chose to write your post with no pants on... well, that is your business.)

And then, because it seems my brain is hardwired to think about the parallel process between what we do as professionals, and what we ask our students to do, I thought about how we ask students to do this EVERY SINGLE  DAY. Make mistakes in public! Share your thinking! Show your work! Explain your process! Talk about your feelings! Tell your friend that you are angry with her! This is big work, no matter how old you are.

That thinking process led me to this singular conclusion: you, my friends, are exemplary educators. I do not have to know you well to know that. You took a risk and pushed yourselves because THAT is what we ask our students to do, and you grasp the hypocrisy of asking students to do things that we would not do ourselves. You are willing to make a mistake in public, to share your thinking, to show your work, to explain your process, to talk about your feelings. (That said, I would suggest that this may not be the most appropriate venue to tell a friend that you are mad at her...)

So, I am tipping my hat in respect, and bowing my head in gratitude, to you, dear contributors. Thank you, for taking this risk. I promise to take good care of your work. It has long been a rule in my classroom to "Be Brave" Apparently this holds true in your classrooms, too.

Now, let's get this party started, shall we?

I am a kindergarten teacher and a  curriculum leader at a private school in the Canada. The best teacher training I ever received came from 12 summers of summer camp work. I am a recovering bunhead, the guardian of an epileptic chihuahua, and I'm pretty sure I bleed glitter. When I'm not hanging out around here, you can find me over at my own blog: Miss Night's Marbles. I also answer questions from teachers at Ask Miss Night.  

Tomorrow, our first true guest post, from @principalKmelt: "Celebrating Creative Superheroes". That seems a logical followup to a post about bravery, doesn't it?


  1. Great post - looking forward to reading them all!

  2. Thanks for being brave enough to put the call out to the early childhood community. I cannot wait to read all of the posts, most especially those of new bloggers. The more that early childhood warriors are sharing their practice and building community, the stronger all of us will be in working with young children and famiies! :)

  3. Great way to kick this off Amy. As you know I was pretty quick to jump on to this project. I love that it will be the collective voice of many, showing how powerful learning together really is. Professionally blogging has been beneficial because it makes me think really hard about what and why I do what I do with my students. It is so important as educators that we go through what we put our students through.

    As a side I love your bio at the end too. I need to get creative with mine. Looking forward to reading more posts this month, but I must admit I will feel a lot better once mine is written and in your little hands. :-)

  4. This is a wonderful idea! I would love to participate and also have you as one of my Friday features and display this as well as the kinderchat onto my blog.


    I look forward to checking in and reading all of the posts!!