I had to laugh (kind of) when Kristina posted about being "too aggressive" in a work meeting because I'd had this post under construction when I read hers. (If you haven't seen it, go read it! She tackles this topic eloquently and with, perhaps, more relevancy than myself.)
Over the last few years, I've been making the purposeful choice to not care what people think. This seems to be working for me; the result has been that my confidence has grown. It has made me a better teacher, a more honest friend, and a more dedicated hobbyist. (Seriously, once I stopped caring about what other people think, my running improved and so did my writing.)
|One of the biggest mistakes new teachers make? Wanting the kids to like them.|
Are there times I have to compromise? Sure. I work with administration and the curriculum team and that often means interacting with teachers that aren't usually on my grade-level team. Sometimes I have to swallow my personal feelings and be nice and likable because, as someone in a mentor position, that's kind of my job.
Are there times I'm worried I'll get myself into trouble? Of course! I've definitely found my voice over the past couple years, and sometimes it means speaking out pretty bluntly about what's going on at our school or with education in general.
But I've found that I'm happier. There's a freedom to being honest. I like knowing that my integrity is intact because I refuse to just smile and make nice when something is bothering me. I feel stronger. And if it means I'm not buddies with everyone, that's okay. I don't believe in burning bridges for the sake of burning them, and I know there's a time and place to lay on the charm, but I also know the people who can handle me are totally the right friends for me.
So what had me thinking about this? I read this article the other day and it really resonated with me; it confirmed for me that the path I've chosen to take is the right one. We often silence ourselves or defer to others in an attempt to be liked, and honestly? Being liked isn't always worth it. When being liked is all we strive for, it makes us passive. I don't want to be passive. I can deal with not being liked.
I'd rather be respected.
Do you spend time worrying about whether people like you?