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The Importance of Encouraging Colleagues: Why Everyone Needs a 'Nudger'

In a profession where many teachers either lack the confidence or can't see the potential that is hidden within, it's important that education is a profession of nudgers, where we constantly nudge one another forward.

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Have you ever been hesitant to take a step forward and lead? To share a skill that you have? To step outside of your comfort zone?

That's why we need to be a profession of nudgers. Let me explain...

One of my first forays into leadership was when my assistant principal, Mellissa, asked me and my colleague to lead a book discussion. I was scared out of my mind. Imposter syndrome kicked in. Who was I to lead colleagues in discussion and learning as a third year teacher? But she nudged me forward, as did my teaching partner, Mrs. B.

Sue nudged me to engage in discussions about becoming our county's Hillsborough County National Board Certified Teacher Council co-chair.

An educator I met at a conference nudged me to pitch and publish my first peer-reviewed research paper.

A colleague in higher education nudged me to think about becoming University of Central Florida's Educator-in-Residence.

My husband nudged me to pursue a wild idea I had about creating a graduate program to support teachers who were leading from within the classroom.

A mentor and veteran teacher nudged me to get involved in advocacy work around teacher evaluation and teaching quality.

My students nudge me every day to keep working to support great teachers so they can transform education for every kid in our classrooms.

I am who I am because of colleagues who have tapped me on the shoulder, who have encouraged me forward when I was afraid to take the plunge. I owe a lot to the nudgers in my life. So I try every day to pay it forward. I pride myself in being a primo-numero-uno nudger of great teachers and their ideas.

Nudging Stephanie to write her book on the impact of teachers that she has been carrying in her heart and mind. Nudging Leslie and Emily to create the curriculum that they are mulling over that has the potential to help other teachers have increased impact on their students. Nudging Gail to throw her hat in the ring for a union leadership role in her building. Nudging Monica to consider welcoming student teachers into her classroom, sharing her gift with the next generation of educators. For what I see in my colleagues they don't always see in themselves. They don't realize the power they have within, the potential they have to impact students beyond their classrooms.

Let's continue to be nudgers for one another as a colleagues, to keep pushing each other forward. In a profession where it seems it is both uncomfortable to step up, and where we sometimes lack the confidence and ability to see the skills and hidden gems we have within, we must point those things out in one another.

I'm thankful for the nudgers in my life and in our profession. Aren't you?

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