voices

I Aspire To:

Be at peace with my life as it is.
Feel connected to those around me.
Open up to others and not feel shame.
Find the confidence to let my voice be heard.
Reclaim my sense of identity.
Believe in myself.

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Some Words Of Gratitude And Acknowledgment

The day six assignment for the Blogging 101: Zero to Hero challenge is to write a post to my dream reader. I’ve taken some liberties with this assignment, and I’ve basically written a post to acknowledge my appreciation for a few of the blogs that I have enjoyed reading.

My dream reader is someone who I can foster mutual reading and writing connections with. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to make connections with other bloggers, and the reciprocal back and forth interchange has been really rewarding. Reading the work of other bloggers makes me realize the connection we all share, regardless of the fact that we are located in different areas of the world and come from different walks of life. Even though what we seek to communicate varies from individual to individual, the thing that does not vary is the idea that we all have passion, a voice, and something that we are trying to communicate.

I started this blogging endeavor with the idea that everybody and their grandmother was blogging and to attract readers meant I had to compete with other bloggers. I’ve reframed my perspective over the past couple of months. An overriding ambition in my studies, in my teaching practice, and in my life in general is to create a space for multiple voices and perspectives to be heard. I see blogging as a perfect forum for this.

My blog recently received a shout out from a boy named Sue in this post. He said some really kind things about my writing that filled with me with a sense of gratitude and pride; more than that though, he made me feel that my voice had been heard and that it mattered.

I wanted to extend this same gratitude to some of the blogs that I have been reading and enjoying. The first three are blogs I have just recently had the pleasure of getting to know during this challenge.

A boy named Sue is one of my new favorites. The humor in his writing is a nice reprieve from the often all-too-consuming seriousness of life; yet, his humor is also laced with larger implications that create the opportunity to reflect more deeply. See this post for an example.

Another new blog that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading is Mostly True Stories of K. Renae P.
I find her humorous stories about the trials and tribulations that teachers face hilarious and relatable. See this post for an example.

Looking Glass Mama has some comical and very practical parenting advice to give. Check out this post to read some helpful advice on how to remain out of the line of fire when changing your little one’s diaper.

I want to give one final word of acknowledgment to Mary from Lifeinthedport.
I have been following her blog for a couple of months now, and she always writes high quality posts on a variety of topics. I especially appreciate her inspired, compassionate posts on teaching and learning. She also writes beautifully about the natural world. Check out her amazing work in this post.

Why We Shouldn’t Wait For Perfection To Let Our Voices Be Heard

For much of my adult life I have held back from expressing my voice. I thought that once I had refined my thoughts and written what I wanted to say in a precise and organized fashion that my voice would be worthy of sharing. The problem was that I could never get it right. My thoughts refused to come out exactly the way I wanted, so instead of risking vulnerability and criticism, I opted to silence myself, and I put my ideas on hold for a better time when they would come together in a more articulate, concise, and profound way.

I found myself particularly out of my comfort zone this week when I assumed a role that I had never undertaken: sports commentator. It was the much anticipated staff versus eighth grade boys’ basketball game, and I sat shoulder to shoulder on packed bleachers with my seventh grade students. To my left sat one of my students who has a visual impairment severe enough to prevent him from seeing a basketball game from the position of the courtside bleachers. He could experience the excitement in the air as hundreds of amped up middle school students stomped in sync, clapped, and cheered. He could hear the intermingled voices of his peers amidst all the chaos, and he could periodically catch a score update, but his limited eye vision could not capture the play-by-play action on the court.

Realizing that it would be difficult for my student to fully enjoy the game without some commentary, I clumsily and inarticulately began to string together a verbal account of the game as it unfolded before us. I messed up on technical terms many times along the way. I didn’t verbalize every play perfectly. During my hurried description, I missed a few ball fumbles here and a few passes there. I had to recruit one of the boys sitting in front of me to be a second set of eyes and double check my facts. “Who fouled whom?” I leaned over and shouted above the roar of excited students, my hands waving wildly in the air as I struggled to quickly and succinctly convey the back and forth action of the game to my student. I’m certain my loud voice and dramatic gestures must have pegged me as an over-aggressive sports enthusiast to the elementary teachers sitting on the other side of the court with their classes.

I stole a glance at my student from time to time, embarrassed by my inability to express the correct technical terms of the plays taking place on the court. When I saw the smile on his face, I knew that he was not concerned that my ability as a sports commentator was less than ESPN worthy. He was not judging me for misstating what type of foul Mr. M. just committed or for accidentally calling a Hook Shot a Jump Shot. My commentary was enough to paint an image in his mind of an experience that he would not have been able to fully engage in without my shaky, inarticulate words. When the game ended, we parted ways to our separate third period classes, but not before he expressed one of the sincerest thanks yous I have ever received from a seventh grade student.

My experience as a sports commentator reminded me that we can’t always wait for a time when point a and point b line up perfectly to let our voices be heard. Sometimes others need to hear our voices, even when we have not rehearsed what to say and our words come out in a jumbled mess. A scratchy, hoarse throat followed me throughout the rest of the day, reminding me of the power of voice, of language, and of words. Not necessarily the kind of words that are perfectly polished and refined, but words that grasp, claw, and struggle to convey ideas for the authentic purpose of helping another see, feel, and experience a moment.