Whatif

Hiding behind my classroom door,

But longing to do something more.

Speaking, writing, teaching, leading,

Something real, not just dreaming.

But amid my thoughts mingled my fears,

And Whatifs whispering in my ear.

Whatif

(a poem for teacher leaders)

 

Hiding behind my classroom door,

But longing to do something more.

Speaking, writing, teaching, leading,

Something real, not just dreaming.

But amid my thoughts mingled my fears,

And Whatifs whispering in my ear.

 

Whatifno one likes your plans?

Whatif you only think you can?

Whatif your story doesn’t ring true?

Whatif you can’t follow through?

Whatif they ask something you don’t know?

Whatif you speak and they answer SO?”

Whatif your vision no one else can see?

Whatif you’re just a leader “wanna-be”?

 

Whatif, Whatif, went on their chant.

Whatif you just accept you can’t?

 

That is when I realized,

Whatifshad kept me paralyzed.

And not just me, other teachers too

Who’d listened when told they had to choose.

Either teach OR lead, you can’t do both

Why even entertain false hope?

 

I thought awhile, then made a plan

To silence that old Whatif band.

 

WhatifI can lead AND teach?

Whatifmy classroom doesn’t define my reach?

Whatifmy voice joins with others here?

Whatifthere’s really nothing to fear?

WhatifI stepped out of my comfort zone?

Whatifteachers worked together, not alone?

Whatifyou see the teacher leader in YOU?

Whatif “what if” could mean something new?

 

What teacher leadership now means to me

Makes Whatif ripe with possibilities.

 

(With grateful thanks to Shel Silverstein who wrote the original “Whatif “poem and taught me that poetry could be fun)

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  • TraceyIdica

    Love this, Deidra!

    The “whatifs” can paralyze us if we focus on the negatives. I love the switch from the negative “whatifs” to the positive ones.  Being around Teacher Leaders through TLI, NEA, CTQ and NBPTS, helps me to remember that I’m not the only one who believes teachers can be agents of change.  Thank you for sharing!

    • DeidraGammill

      Tracey,

      Tracey,

      Thanks for taking time to share. Like you, the teacher leaders in NBPTS, CTQ and NEA (plus all the amazing teachers I’ve met in other venues because of my involvement with those 3 organizations) have encouraged me and given me courage to step out of my comfort zone and speak up on behalf of teachers everywhere. 🙂

  • pwcrabtree

    Changing the Inner Dialogue

    Way too often that inner voice that eats at our confidence convinces us that we do not have what it takes to lead.  The whatifs whisper and remind us of weaknesses instead of our inner strengths.  Yet, if we can for one moment challenge that inner voice, could we change the inner dialogue that often holds us back?

    I love this poem because it is a reality for so many teachers and educators. It is the inner dialogue we must change if we are to step up, move forward, and challenge what education has become and lead it in a direction that benefits (not cripples) our children. 

    What if for one day, every teacher in every state and in every school challenged that inner dialogue and shared their beliefs with their admin, their school board, their elected officials, their families, and the community? What if teachers were empowered to lobby, educate, and speak for their children without fear of consequences?  

    Conflict can be a good thing… it helps us grow and change in positive ways…  yet people avoid it like ebola. We need to trust the inner voice that whispers, I am MORE than…

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • DeidraGammill

    Precious, your comment made

    Precious, your comment made me smile, especially your last line about people avoiding conflict like ebola! It’s hard to imagine conflict being a good thing, but you’re right – it’s only through struggle that we grow – whether it’s physical, emotional, spirtitual or relational. I think people often equate conflict with something like ebola because they can’t see anything positive coming from either. Constructive conflict is a lot like exercise, diet and general self-control. It gets a bad rap because it requires discipline and discomfort to reach a productive end. There are certainly wrong ways to exercise and diet – ways that lead to unproductive pain – but if you’re intentional and disciplined about how you seek/deal with conflict, the results can be beautiful. I need to apply that lesson to myself (I tend to avoid conflict, exericise and dieting!)