Taking Risks to Flourish

I dread writing and fear the times when I have to share my writing with others. Whether it is progress reports, a formal email, or a blog post, I have anxiety about other people reading my writing.  I stress that others will quickly find comma splices or judge me for poor word choice. I truly worry that people might think I am stupid because of my writing skills. In fact I have worried about composing this post since the moment I signed up to write it. However, I write as a model for my students because this is me taking a risk and accepting that this post is probably full of grammatical mistakes.

My fearful journey with writing began in Ms. Griffin’s Second Grade classroom when I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Despite teachers, professors, tutors, friends, and family dedicating countless hours trying to help me develop my writing skills, twenty-three years later I still get that same uneasy feeling in my stomach when I know someone else is going to read my writing. However, it is that same nauseous feeling that helps me empathize with my students when they fear taking risks with their learning or worry about making mistakes. While Michelle and I constantly remind students they need to take risks to grow and that making mistakes is okay, I thought it was time to model risk taking. So this post is for the twenty kiddos that enter my room each morning. This is Miss Rankin taking a risk in order to grow as a teacher, to flourish.

Learner, Thinker, Writer: Mary Jacob Rankin serves Trinity School as a First Grade Teacher @maryjacobr

9 thoughts on “Taking Risks to Flourish

  1. Miss Rankin,
    No one cares about comma splices when the message elicits such a powerful response. You are not alone in your fears, but your actions enable you not to remain captive to them. I am so proud of you and appreciate your journey. This post is for many of us who hold back and miss out. What lucky first graders!

  2. I am thankful to have my daughter in a room where risk taking is modeled and encouraged! Sydney is a lucky girl to have you and Michelle as her teachers. Good for you for taking a risk! XO

  3. Sometimes it’s easy to tell students and harder to do yourself. Good for you for taking a risk! I don’t see a single comma splice. Then again, I wouldn’t know one if saw one! 😉

  4. The fact that I didn’t know how you felt about writing after talking to you and watching you lead in so many excellent ways makes me think about how likely it is we won’t know about a child’s fears. I love that this school provides a space for everyone to take risks and grow. I love that this school allows everyone to shine in their own way. Thank you for also modeling to your students that it is important to recognize strengths and challenges.

  5. Great post and reminder that we need to step outside of our comfort zone in the same way we encourage our students to do so. Thanks for taking the risk, it paid off more than you know!

  6. I am so with you on the writing. I am always worried that someone will judge my writing to be immature and just plain not interesting. You are a good role model! Thanks for your blog.

  7. Thanks for the courage to share such a thoughtful post. Your students are certainly fortunate to have you as their teacher!

  8. Wow! Amazing! Heartfelt! Thank you for sharing this piece of you publicly. You’re vulnerability gives me strength and hope. Reading your writing just chipped away a piece of the wall I put up in elementary school. Thank you! Thank you!

  9. Beautiful, Mary Jacob! You are a writer and you have claimed that in your description of yourself. Hold onto it dearly because it really is not so much about grammar and all the right words as writing from the heart. All else can be fixed but the essence of what is written comes from the uniqueness of each individual’s story. If you do not write, we will all be missing something.

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