I didn’t think it was real, not when I saw it on Facebook. After all, no state would truly pass a law like that. And yet, with Michigan passing a law that allows for discrimination toward anyone who you feel sincerely burden your religious belief, I am almost at a loss for words. Only almost, because once again fear and hatred leads the way in decision making. Only almost at a loss for words because it in times like these that we must take stock of our own fears and hatred and not let the dark ones drive the way.
Yet, fear seems to be a constant companion in education. Fear of the change. Fear of the new. Fear of the old in some ways. Fear that our students aren’t learning enough. Fear that the new initiative will render us voiceless. Fear that a new administrator will leave us powerless. Fear of technology. Fear of each other and the stealing of ideas. Fear of being praised too much so that colleagues feel jealous. Fear of giving control. Fear of being not good enough.
We can let our fears run us; propel us forward at a breakneck pace. We can led them lead the way as we stumble blindly behind. Or we can turn them around, embrace them for the fuel they may be and allow our fears to push our forward. Not toward a more secluded experience where we assume everyone will be out to get us, but one where we assume that everyone is a supporter. Everyone has ideas. Everyone is a learner. Every change has something good in it.
While the world may continually grow more fearful, and for some there are so many good reasons to want to be afraid, we have to continue to fight. To not let our country be run by hatred. To not let our teaching be run by fear. Fear will always be a companion in any life you lead, what you do with it is what matters, how you let it form you is what counts. I, for one, will use it to push me forward not hold me back, or at the very least I will try. Who knows what the future holds, but I declare my intentions anyway.
I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA, who has taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grade. Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.