Taking a New Leap: Why It Scares Me, Why I’m Doing It Anyway, and How I Hope to Help Other Educators

The last time I felt this vulnerable was in my first ever blog post here at Cobble&Brick after I quit my teaching job, but I’m back to really put myself out there because I believe it’s my time to help more than just the people I work with on the day-to-day.

For months now I’ve been investing my time, energy, journal pages, and money into learning the building blocks and ins and outs of online course creation. During my morning and afternoon commutes to school I’ve swapped the radio for podcasts on my phone about email lists, Pinterest marketing (did you know Pinterest is basically Google but with images?!), real Instagram authenticity, course creation, and everything related to this new, very unfamiliar to me yet booming world of online ed.

Especially when it dawned on me that all the things I use and practice in my classroom I didn’t learn during my formal education experiences, I felt inspired and responsible to figure out how I could share what I know with other teachers who have to be out there figuring it all out on the fly, too. And could I ease some of their pain points unique to new teachers working in urban settings?

Yes, I could. And I felt like I had to because quite frankly, teachers learn best from other teachers and yet their ideas, strategies, routines, and voices are hugely lacking if not totally absent from undergrad and grad programs.

Why? Probably because we’re so busy in our actual classrooms using trial and error, giving all our time, energy, and care to our students while navigating all the things they never taught us in school.

You know what I’m saying?

So full disclosure…I hated online classes in grad school and avoided them as long as possible. The lessons were impersonal, mostly theory-based, and included a ton of case studies. That’s what I remember: Analyzing case study after case study and having to apply various theories of child development to them in these online forums. Clearly everyone was responding to each other’s posts just to get the grade.

Is it important to have background knowledge about child development? Yes.

Applicable to the real life, I-need-something-I-can-use-right-now moments in the classroom? Not so much.

So I created my first mini-course with all my teacher people in mind–and it’s free because what I value and really need the most right now is feedback as I flesh out the full course coming later this summer!

You might be thinking, “You can’t learn everything you need to be a great teacher from someone else. You just have to go through it and figure it out for yourself.”

To this I say true! So, so true! But when I think back on the most valuable learning moments for me as a teacher, they came from watching others with more experience, talking to them about their thinking, using their approaches as launching points or references, and going at it in my own way from there. And that’s what’s been in my heart and on my mind to give back to you.

I’ve named my school The Joyful Classroom and my mini-course baby is called The Ultimate Guide to a Power-Packed First Five Minutes of Class. I loved creating it for you! I’ve bundled up and organized the four phases and five strategies I use every single day in my classroom that have helped me build trust with my students, push their academic limits, and teach them to support and cheer one another on. Basically, it’s the advice I hear myself giving my colleagues when they tell me they’re having trouble with classroom management and engagement.

Andddd I’m battling major imposter sydrome currently, if I’m being honest. I shared on Instagram that even though I had the mini-course done for days, I couldn’t bring myself to hit publish and share it on Pinterest. I was standing at the edge of the diving board, staring into the deep end, needing someone to push me in. My beliefs and approaches are heavily influenced from my time working in a charter school and you’ll see that reflected in the structure of the course immediately. But as a lot of you know, charter world wasn’t sustainable for me, so I had to blend what I learned in New York with the realities of a huge urban public school with teachers and systems that were not always consistent or aligned.

I’m sitting here at my dining room table looking out at the sunshine in our front yard, watching the breeze lift the gauzy white curtains and I feel the same gentle nudge inside me telling me to be brave and share and be there for you.

If you sign up for the free course, you can work at your own pace and are under no pressure to start immediately, though it could spark lots of ideas for you. I’d like to give you something if you finish the course and leave a comment on it. I’d love to send you one of my HappySoul mugs with a word or phrase of your choosing OR if you love the freebie so much and you’d like to sign up for the full paid course that’ll be ready by the end of the summer, I’ll apply 10% of the purchase price (which I’m still working out!)

Thank you so much for your support, engagement, and encouragement here at Cobble&Brick. Hopefully I’ll see you over at The Joyful Classroom next!

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