Growth of a New Voice

by Kathleen Cushnie @VoicingEd

Do you take time to reflect on your growth and achievements? Are you recognising support from others? Who do you need to voice gratitude to?

Recently, I noticed that I hadn’t taken the time to acknowledge my achievements; instead I was caught up in the continuous journey of development. The value of reflection is underrated. I believe this now as I take time each week to celebrate my growing ‘wins’. Celebrating my small wins allows me to recognise the value in small steps towards a goal. Writing this down in a journal is even more rewarding as you can go back at a later stage and reflect on your growth.

Reflection is an important part of self-development enabling you to notice what you may not have seen when caught up in a moment. Awareness is a great component of life but as educators we know that this can easily slip away as thoughts, tasks and time overwhelm us.

Accepting Support to enable Growth

'We don’t need to do this alone, we were never meant to.' Brené Brown. 

I included the above Brené Brown quote in my @WomenEdEngland New Voices talk back in July and today it still stands. In fact, the words resonate deeper now. Accepting support is beneficial. The first global #WomenEd unconference (Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th Oct) highlighted the need and importance of this movement. The #WomenEd network has enabled numerous women across the world to share their growth and encourage one another through discussions and sharing of experiences. The unconference enabled women with varying approaches, perspectives and experiences to connect.

Despite the range of locations, many of us could identify with each other’s narratives. Female educators across the world are facing similar issues. Yet each story and discussion shared was layered with individuality and inspiration. It is clear to see how the #WomenEd network has impacted others.

A person’s success can never be attributed to just one person. It is important to recognise and value this as educators and leaders.

Accept support each step on your journey

Without saying yes to the opportunity to speak in July, I wouldn’t have been asked to reflect on my growth in my most recent talk. Small stepping stones in your journey should never be taken for granted. How could saying ‘yes’ impact you?

Growth, change and development

Growing and changing enables you to reinvent yourself. This is development. Looking at this from a constructive-developmentalist perspective, although we make meaning of ourselves and the world the key is know that this changes over time. Right now, evolution is crucial as an educator, a leader and for all in the world we are currently living in.
We cannot afford to stand still and teach how we used to. Styles in leadership need to develop. By default, many of us have had to adapt to a new way of looking at education. This can be debated as blessing in disguise, nevertheless change was inevitable. Since July, my awareness of impacting others has expanded. So much so that I have created this special corner on the internet to express my voice to encourage educators to uncover their self-worth, amplify their voice and empower others. The adrenaline from the first @WomenEdEngland event: #NewVoices, back in July, created a ripple effect for many of those nine women including myself. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support from #WomenEd.

'A ripple effect approach was born from that one opportunity.' It is this that I find both inspiring and motivating. The beauty in supporting others by creating opportunities can have a profound impact. I am the embodiment of this. Supporting others enables you to grow too, like a boomerang inspiration arrives right back at you. However, I should highlight that true growth requires transformation.

What is the role of Transformation?

In order to grow, a change needs to take place. “You cannot begin a journey by standing in the same place.” As stated earlier, speaking in July was the catalyst for many changes. However, this could not happen without a conscious effort to change. Following the event, I took a step back and reflected on how I wanted to proceed. I knew I wanted to develop my voice, to speak and to inspire. But the question was why?

At times, you may think you know why you are doing something but we must be careful to check that our beliefs and values are still in alignment and that these are being reflected in our daily actions. Once I knew my why, effortless changes followed. I was driven. The transformation process flowed as my purpose was clear. With an awareness of my why, my actions became intentional.

Knowledge of what you want to achieve is not enough. A growth mindset is not enough. A marriage of behaviour, attitude and action leads to change. Transformation occurs when there is an awareness of your behaviour and attitude towards the change. If you are considering doing something that you have never done before. I would urge you to do this. Taking the first step can be the hardest but with one step, you are getting closer to your outcome. One talk led to me making connections, which has opened possibilities for other actions.

Take a moment to consider the following questions. If you have a journal write down your responses:

  • Who has helped you recently in your teaching career?
  • How have you shown gratitude for this?
  • What is your why?
  • How are you impacting others?
  • What one change can you do tomorrow that will impact those who work with you?

Reflection

Do remember to reflect and celebrate your achievements weekly. Too often we beat ourselves up and at the end of the week and focus on what has not gone well. However, remember this is all about perspective. It may not have happened exactly how you wanted but this is fine. At times, we are impacting others in ways we will never know. Be mindful of this and never forget to support others on your journey whilst showing gratitude for the help you have received. Keep the ripple effect going...

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