The new year started off with a bang when I read Tanner Roos’s blog post about 20 seconds of courage. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when I started my journey, taking a few seconds of courage to step out into our #physed profession. It was scary in the beginning, but it seems to have gotten a little easier over the years. Then, I read Jason Steele’s blog post that focused on Identifying Your Niche and Loving What You Do. Luckily, I found my niche in my profession and it mostly revolves around helping and working with something that I enjoy- technology.
Before I go on, I want you to know that I’m here because of you. I am who I am because of you. I will be forever grateful for the friendships developed, guidance provided, and the mentoring I’ve received! I hope that I have given back just a little of what I have received from my #physed family.
This past year, I’ve been struggling with the feeling that I’m inadequate. I’ve questioned whether I deserved some of the recognition that I’ve received. I believe that some of this comes from the feeling that I’m a better team player than an individual player. I do things for the team, not myself. Receiving recognition puts more of a spotlight on me. I have felt the sense that people might figure out that I’m not as good as they expected (a poser). I can think of three California teachers who I believe should have received these awards before me. I’ve been both humbled and honored to have received these awards.
Some of my fear of success can be summed up from a movie, Coach Carter, where Timo Cruz (played by Rick Gonzalez) gets in front of his coach to explain why he acts a certain way.
https://youtu.be/2_fDhqRk_Ro?t=37s (In case you are at work, I’ve started the clip at this point so skip a curse word).
If you prefer to read the quote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Maybe part of the problem is in the fact that I am scared to have success in my life. I’m afraid of the spotlight on me because it will reveal that I’m not what I seem. What if people find out that I’m not all that I’m cracked up to be? Will everything that I have worked for be taken away? Is what I’m teaching showy but not meaningful? Am I worried that I will be successful?
In order for our profession to continue to move forward, we must continue to share. I’m calling on the people who spend hours preparing your lessons because it means something. You need to share. I’m calling on those who spend two hours creating something that lasts two minutes in class. You need to share. I’m calling on those who go into depth even when the expectation is to brush over the content. You need to share. I’m calling on those who spend more hours at school than your classroom counterparts. You need to share. I’m calling on those who go to board meetings, PTA meetings, and to community meetings just to help your program get an extra little bit. You need to share. I’m calling on all of you who go the extra mile for your students to share!
When we share with others it is like passing a light between us. “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:15). We need to light the world to demonstrate what #Physed CAN do. We have to stop feeling inadequate at what we do. We cannot hide. We need to be so bright that the darkness (bad teaching practices) is no longer hidden in the shadows. As we share our light, it passes on to others. As others see the light, they start to share their own. It starts a movement.
What I’ve been most impressed by our #physed family is that I can take information from anywhere. My first experience of this was when I connected myself to the Subject Matter Project for Health & Physical Education. I realized I wasn’t a good teacher based on what I observed from these amazing teachers. However, the group provided me friendship, mentorship, and the help I needed to become a better teacher. Without them, I probably would have given up teaching around 2007. They shared their light with me!
I’ve had a another wave help me continue my journey. This is from the online #physed community, #ESPEchat , the Physed Fellowship, and also extended into both CAHPERD and the Elementary Physical Education Workshop. I’ve been able to meet some amazing people around the world that I have grown to call friends. I see the incredible things that people have done and sometimes I try to imitate them. What’s important to learn is to take those ideas that work for you and use them in a way that helps your students. We don’t need to do everything. I see Kevin Tiller or Ben Pirillo using their laptops and projectors way more than I do- so I find new ways of using a projector in my class! I found the Balance Bingo handout provided by Mike Graham- so I give it a try but I change the rules to meet the needs of my students! I used the fidget spinner boards from Cap'n Pete and my students think I’m amazing because I’m telling them to take out their fidget spinners instead of putting them away! I see a presentation from Kate Cox about how she is assessing her students using technology and realize that I could do it too. I see how Terri Drain and Wendy Jones spend their time talking about how the WHY is so important so I learn to provide the why for my students. I also see how a fellow CPP graduate student, Stephanie Sandino, is doing some amazing things only a few years out of college and I wonder what she will be like in another 20 years. I see Tanner Roos talking about 20 seconds of courage so I take the time to write my own blog post. I see Jason Steele talking about finding my niche so I volunteer to do something that is in my comfort zone. My PLN constantly encourage me to get out of my comfort zone and it helps me to grow. It’s through our ability to share that we make each other stronger. By shining our own light can help others. It’s through our commitment to quality physical education that we become stronger.
As we step out of our own comfort zone it does bring attention to us (individually) but it also provides recognition for our profession. Our actions brings light to the greater #Physed community. By taking a step forward motivates others to take their own step, maybe even their first.
I’ve been intrigued by the #MyOneWord resolutions the last few years. I like having a motto that is only one word but it also makes it difficult to find just the right word. This year, my professional word was to be BOLD.
As I’ve been worried about feeling inadequate it reminds me that I need to take risks. Imaging if I had not had that 20 seconds of courage 11 years ago…Where would I be today? To be honest, I might not be teaching. Looking back, it seems like my 20 seconds of courage was a series of dominoes falling down that has gotten me to this point. Each one connected to another and only an arms reach of each other. I’m nothing special, just trying to do what I can to help my students and to help my profession.
I think that #Physed needs its own word for 2018, SHINE! It’s time that we all show what we have to offer and provide ourselves with our own 20 seconds of courage. Will you be willing to step out of your comfort zone? As we learn to step forward we start to feel comfortable taking chances. We try to do even more. Imagine, if every quality physical education teacher decided to step forward at the same time this year? What if we did it again next year? Where would our profession be in the next 20 years? The time is now for the #physed community to understand that we have a lot to offer and it’s our time to shine!
Matthew Bassett is a K-8 physical education teacher from San Jose Charter Academy (West Covina, CA). Matthew is an active member in CAHPERD, the Elementary Physical Education Workshop, and a moderator for #ESPEchat. Matthew received the 2017 elementary physical education teacher of the year from CAHPERD and the 2018 elementary physical education teacher of the year from Southwest District of SHAPE America. When not working you can find him online or spending time with his family. He enjoys walking, hiking, and would love to find more time to kayak in his future.