I often meet with other professors to learn about their courses and see how they manage their online teaching presence using our university’s digital platforms. After these meetings, I inevitably feel terribly insecure about myself as an educator. Sometimes I feel so insecure that I pledge to never look at another teacher’s course again! I compare myself and realize how much I don’t know, how I have failed to engage my students in certain ways, and how I fumble with emerging technologies.
It borders on feelings of shame that I know so well.
But today, I realized I don’t have to feel shame. I can simply admit the truth about myself and then move into vulnerability and curiosity. How else will I learn and change? How else will I ever improve? Instead of looking at this amazing professor’s course and hanging my head in shame, I peer into her strategies and imagine the kind of teacher I could be one day.
I stay curious: What would happen if I learned this new technique? What is it like to teach like this or like that? What am I gaining or losing? How can I stay myself but also become a little more like this expert?
When you accept yourself just as you are but also take on the identity of a curious learner, you escape the insecurity and shame. And you find yourself so excited to uncover all you have yet to learn.