This is the sixth part of my Reflection Series – a self-reflection of my year teaching in the UK.
What is one way that you grew professionally this year?
There are so many ways I grew professionally this year that it is difficult to talk about just one!
I think the most important aspect of my growth is how I have become more confident with myself as a professional. I am more willing to speak up and speak out, and let people know my opinions about my profession and about myself as a teacher and a person.
I really think having this little slice of the internet is a big factor in that regard. I am writing about my experiences, and you are reading it and responding. So far no one has had anything negative to say, and that is a huge boost to my writing-persona’s ego.
Me being able to speak up and speak out started out small, just to other members of my own department. The science department of my school in London was absolutely brilliant at supporting each other, talking about things and accepting each other’s ideas. I was encouraged to share my thoughts and ideas, and to truly collaborate with colleagues in a way I had not experienced before.
Having that backing in that small group gave me the confidence to extend myself outside our department. It allowed me to present ideas for PD, talk with other departments and senior leadership, and not feel quite so small and insignificant. It allowed me to discover that I am really good at the organisational and logical side of teaching, the admin-y stuff that people tend to put in the too-hard basket. I am good at that, and I enjoy it, and it helps me and my department to be better teachers. I wouldn’t have discovered that if I hadn’t had the confidence to try in the first place.
I am much more comfortable with putting my hand up for things I want to do, but also to say no to things I am not comfortable with or not interested in. I really can’t emphasise enough how much of a difference it has made for me to realise how to stand up for myself, and how to go about it professionally.