The Right Words

Posted on

Today I had the wonderful fortune to attend a workshop facilitated by Katherine Bomer. Aside from the infectiously warm personality, she is well respected and several times published in the subject of teaching children how to write. I adored the workshop, and very much enjoyed everything she had to say and the amount of attention she paid to the input of both the teachers and the pre-service teachers that attended. 

But that’s not why I’m writing. This post is about saying the right thing, the most needed thing. This semester I have been working quite hard on ensuring that I give equal speaking time to my fellow classmates. While one professor feels that I have been doing a good job with it, another professor (whose opinion I count highly) told me that she worries as she feels I still dominate conversation. On the other hand, when I expressed my concern to Mrs. Bomer, she not only told me that she found me to be very smart, but that my contribution to the conversations today were “perfect.” 

I must admit, I nearly cried with relief and happiness. 

I’ve been so stressed about the feedback given to me by my professor that it has, at times, had me second guessing when I speak up. I’ve been so worried that my voice might drown out others, or that I’d be seen by people who would soon be my peers and coworkers as domineering that I’ve bitten my tongue at times. Today I was far too into the work we were doing to second guess myself, and it turns out – that was exactly what I needed to stop doing. 

With all respect to my professor, and her feedback – I want to make a difference. I can’t do that if I’m too busy biting my tongue to contribute meaningfully to the change occurring around me. I can’t be a force of change for my students if I’m too worried about offending or upsetting those around me to speak out when it is needed. Instead, I’m going to focus on doing what I did today. Contribute. Speaking up with knowledge that I’m confident in. Letting my voice be heard.

Thank you, Mrs. Bomer. Thank you for saying exactly the right thing, right when I needed to hear it the most.