Think “AND” not “BUT”

I am a firm believer in the necessity of thinking “AND” and not “BUT.”

For example, we often say things like, “I love my students, BUT I am excited for summer.”

Instead, I try and remember to think, “I love my students, AND I am excited for summer.”

I find that when I get myself to think in terms of “AND,” it allows space for both emotions.  One emotion does not negate the other.  There is room to feel both of those things.  I don’t have to choose between loving my students and being excited for a chance to spend time with my daughter, to rejuvenate, to learn, to relax and to enjoy a slower pace of life.

So as I move forward, into this somewhat frightening next year of growing and learning, I am trying to remind myself to think in terms of “AND” and not “BUT.” Here is what I’ve got so far:

I am rejuvenated at the thought of being a better teacher AND I am terrified that I will try things and not end up any better than I am today.

I am excited at the possibilities that using more technology in the classroom will bring to my students and my teaching AND I am scared that I will just end up using technology for the sake of technology.

I believe that if I give more power and control to my students then they will learn more and become more likely to continue learning outside of my classroom AND I am fearful that if I don’t say all that I want to say then they will not learn all that they need to learn.

I want to be more authentic in the learning that we do in the classroom AND I worry that I don’t know how to make the learning as authentic as I want it to be.

I am inspired by the connections that I have been making through this blog and through Twitter AND I am anxious that I will not accomplish the things that I am telling others I want to accomplish and will thereby look like a failure.

I am motivated by setting higher standards for myself as a teacher AND I am worried that I will not meet the standards I set.

So as I go into the year, and into this summer of learning, I am going to have to remind myself that there is room for all of these emotions.  By making myself vulnerable, by allowing space for the worries and the anxieties and voices that tell me I might not be good enough, I am also leaving room for the better thoughts to be heard. Having doubts does not mean the journey is not worthwhile. Having fears does not mean that I should turn back to how things were.  I will leave space for all of it and I will not filter out the less attractive things for others to see.  Because all learning, all struggle, all growth comes with the a mix of emotions and I will be proud of anything that comes along.

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