When I taught kindergarten, some of my colleagues always told the students what topic to write about. The whole class would be writing about animals today, or the weather. They felt that students would not know how to pick an idea and it was better to have an idea ready for them.
I never assigned topics. We would brainstorm how to think of your own idea for writing, with charts made mostly of pictures for them to reference if they got stuck. Because I trusted my 5 year old writers had ideas and believed they could pick a topic, they always did. We had struggles in writing workshop, for sure, but one of the struggles was never picking a topic. They could always do it.
Trust goes hand-in-hand with risk-taking and security. You have to feel secure that if you fall, you will have a soft place to land. When you know that failing won't be the end of you, you are more willing to take risks, more able to learn. You trust that it will be okay, in the end, regardless of the outcome.
Becoming a connected educator and looking for ways to incorporate technology and digital tools requires trust on the part of the teacher. You have to trust that you have something to say and are worthy to contribute to the global conversation around teaching and learning. You have to trust your voice. You have to believe that digital tools enhance thinking and learning and that they flatten classroom walls. You have to trust that students will be better for the opportunities to collaborate with others from all corners of the world. You have to have faith that learning takes time and you won't be a master of everything digital all in one day. You also need to recognize that once you've mastered something tech-related, something new will replace it. Technology is ever-changing and the goal can't be to master a particular tool, but rather to look for tools that can provide opportunities for creativity, communication, and collaboration.
Just as students need to trust their teachers in order to be risk-takers, teachers need to trust their administrators and colleagues in order to have genuine conversations that move thinking and learning forward. A climate of fear and anxiety does not promote trust, and therefore holds everyone back. Trust can be built when teachers feel appreciated and recognized for their strengths. When all stakeholders have a real voice, trust grows and progress can happen.
One of my favorite Billy Joel songs is "Matter of Trust." Billy sings, "You can't go the distance, with too much resistance." Today, on Easter Sunday, may we have more trust than resistance, more safe places to land, more faith, more understanding, and more hope that the world can indeed be a more loving place.