Looking Past Imposter Syndrome

How OUR’s first Teacher Leader in Residence Leaps Over Fear

I’ve spent a large portion of my life living with “imposter syndrome”. Perhaps it’s something you’ve dealt with also—those feelings that creep into the edges of your mind and tell you that you aren’t good enough, you don’t belong, and you aren’t qualified for the opportunities you’ve been given. 

Those feelings were amplified a few years ago when I left the comfort of my elementary classroom and took the plunge into middle school math. I missed the discovery and engagement of my 3rd grade classroom and, despite welcoming colleagues, wondered if I would ever belong in the middle school setting. Thankfully, I ditched my traditional textbook, discovered the free, high-quality Open Up Resources 6–8 Math curriculum and started to find a home with the community Open Up Resources was building around the materials. 

Before I knew it, I took a risk and applied to be a Community Coach for Open Up Resources and (to my shock - remember imposter syndrome), I was selected. As a teacher at a small school in Iowa with right around 250 Twitter followers, I was going to serve as a leader of teachers using the curriculum? Enter all those feelings of self-doubt again.

I learned a lot that first year and truthfully cringe a little bit now when I watch the playback of the first PLCs I presented. I could see my own growth throughout the year but couldn’t shake the feeling that I was never going to be good enough. 

In the months leading up to last June, I was so nervous about leading the 7th Grade Community Pathway at HIVE. I was just learning to effectively navigate our monthly hour-long PLC meetings and I was planning and presenting 15 hours of in-person professional learning...it was quite a leap!

Once June arrived and I stepped off the plane in Atlanta (it was my first time in an airport that large with a train!) those feelings started to dissipate. HIVE became the first time in my career when those feelings of being an imposter completely melted away. Maybe it was the focus Open Up Resources puts on developing teacher leaders or maybe it was the energy of hundreds of teachers who were passionate about the curriculum, but either way, I started to feel like I really belonged. 

I wasn’t the only one. I heard from so many teachers that were transformed by the experience of attending HIVE. They, like me, found a place where they could belong and grow their teacher leader potential.

After HIVE 2020, I am going to take on a new challenge and become the first Teacher Leader in Residence at Open Up Resources. Yes, that means I will be leaving my beloved classroom, but it also means the chance to elevate more teacher leaders to do the work alongside me. 

As Teacher Leader in Residence at Open Up Resources, I will be: 

  • Developing teacher-to-teacher professional learning that will meet teachers where they are
  • Provide 1:1 coaching to teachers
  • Visit schools to co-teach right alongside you! 

As the program grows, so will the need for more Teacher Leaders in Residence. That’s one reason HIVE is so important! 

I firmly believe that HIVE 2019 gave me the tools I needed to further develop my teacher leadership skills and take this next step in my career. It made me a better teacher, a stronger leader, and helped me make connections with people like me from around the country. I saw it do the same for my new friends and colleagues that gathered from around the country and I know it can do the same for you in 2020.

There are tons of exciting opportunities headed your way in the coming weeks, including information about bringing on our next round of ELA and Math Community Coaches, opportunities to work with me in my new role at your school, and much more surrounding HIVE 2020

“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” ~ Walt Disney

Let’s get started together. The opportunities that await us are endless and HIVE 2020 is where it starts. This year’s conference is completely virtual, offers 12 different tracks across 4 curricula and has a lot in store for attendees over the 5 scheduled days. I can’t wait to see you there virtually for some inspiration, motivation, and education. 

WATCH: Keynote Speaker, Dr. Kristopher Childs, invites you to HIVE 2020.

morgan-stipe-mathMorgan Stipe, recently named Open Up Resources first Teacher Leader in Residence, combines her experience in teaching and school leadership and brings it to the OUR team. The team at OUR refers to her as our “Resources Ninja” as she is always creating and developing resources to support students that use Open Up Resources 6–8 Math, and is willing to share them with other teachers from around the country. Morgan also documents her classroom experiences on many social media platforms including #OpenUpMath and the Open Up Math Facebook Group.