I think most of have a driving need to feel like we are a part of something, to have people that understand us, to feel like we belong.
In short we don’t want to be alone.
If you know me you know I don’t do anything just a little bit…so I even take the fear of being alone to a whole new level. I’ve spent most of my life hating to be alone whether it was driving in the car, sleeping at night, or watching tv I’ve had an endless need to have people around. (Now that I have kids I seem to enjoy that whole being alone thing a bit more haha!) I even remember having a moment of total meltdown after I got divorced while watching the movie “The Intern” and realizing that I might be buried in the cemetery alone one day. (Don’t watch that movie after you get divorced FYI) So as I write this, yes I do realize that I take crazy to new and unprecedented levels every day.
But I think if most of us are honest I think we all hate to be feel alone in this world. I really started reflecting on that this week after I saw this tweet.
It knocked my socks off a bit. I felt alone a lot as a teacher. I was always the rebel, the one who was never satisfied, the one who thought we could push just a bit harder to improve ourselves, the one who questioned the status quo. That doesn’t always earn you a lot of friends in a school building.
Don’t get me wrong, I had some amazing friends when I was teaching that I loved dearly but I also knew I never quite belonged. I knew that when new ideas popped up that were extra work I would take the blame or when I spoke up to share in a meeting that the same people would roll their eyes or otherwise not be thrilled with my rebel rousing ways. I never got to be truly whole there because I never really belonged.
But this isn’t a sad woe is me blog post. It’s a coming of age if you will because now I get to see just how awesome it is when teachers have a safe space and really get to belong. I get this awesome experience of watching teachers from across the country gather around the Open Up Resources 6–8 Math Curriculum and find their belonging. I see teachers sharing everything from teaching tips to posters they made to help strangers they’ve never met, offering words of encouragement, and investing in each other around a curriculum of all things – and it is magical.
It makes me proud to get to be a part of this group of educators who are more amazing than I can describe. I know they are doing incredible things for kids in the classroom and as a parent I am thankful for that but I am more thankful for what they are doing for each other. They are giving each other a place to belong. They are filling our great human need to not be alone and giving each other a greater purpose. How cool is it that it’s happening around a math curriculum?