As a new teacher still working on my master’s degree and the youngest person on staff at my center, I find it difficult to consider myself *trumpets* “a professional.” I’ve yet to build all the confidence I need to feel like I know what I’m talking about when communicating with families, co-workers, and students. At least I know I have the children in my classroom beat, though they still can throw me for a loop with some of their questions and comments.
I feel confident that I know the children in my classroom well enough to give an accurate description of them to others. However, I still second-guess myself, wondering “did I just sound ridiculous?” or “I’m pretty sure that didn’t make sense.” Because the children in my classroom use Autism Scholarship funds to attend our out-of-their-district preschool, I have to tell other schools’ professional teams where these children are in their development. It’s hard to believe you sound like an educated person when you still are learning about special education, the IEP process, and the key terms used to describe a child’s behavior or ability level. This week alone I got off the phone several times thinking “oh, they think I’m an idiot.”
I try very hard to make sure my student teachers believe I know what I am talking about, and so far I think I’ve tricked them. However, there have been times when I don’t really know how to handle their questions or where to direct them, because I am still learning, too! (Not to mention, they are either the same age or older than me, which makes it difficult to feel like a supervisor/superior to them.)
As for parents, I’m afraid I will give them wrong advice or lead them in the wrong direction—that terrifies me! (And them too, I’m sure, if they are reading this.)
With co-workers, I’m constantly asking questions and sometimes find it difficult to share my ideas, fearing that I am wrong. And, to be honest, there have been times when I have spoken up, shared an idea or belief, and I felt shot down because I am, supposedly, wrong—typically due to my inexperience.
When is that magical moment in time when you say to yourself, “Wow! I DO know what I’m talking about! I am a *trumpets again* professional!”? How do you build confidence when you’re constantly afraid that you’re wrong or don’t yet know enough? When will I know that I do sound smart and knowledgeable? Is my faking it getting me by? I know it won’t forever.
I will say this: In the few short months that I’ve been in this leadership role (that still sounds weird to say), my confidence has gone up, if just a tiny little bit. I know that some people now look at me as more than a student or a young whippersnapper, and at least THEY have confidence in what I say and do.
So, as insanely difficult as it is, I need to remember it’s okay to say “I don’t know, I’ll get back to you on that” or to speak up and either be right (at which time I expect a choir to rejoice) or be wrong and simply take it as a learning experience.
Maybe I should have blogged about something else; now my secret is out. . . .