People think I am insane. Crazy. Loco. They think this because I voluntarily pursued National Board. (Sadly, there are many, many naysayers that I know who are willing to bash it because they don't have the nerve to try the best professional development there is.) They also think this because I voluntarily signed myself up for this doctoral program.
Honestly, I giggle about it. Many of my supporters tell me that people are just jealous of me. I learned that at work this year. People are petty, jealous and think that *I* think I am better than them. Please. I am a little west side white girl. I'm not better than anyone. I have never thought I was. I just choose to bust my tail and achieve my dreams. They could all do it, but they choose not to. It is a choice.
I have learned that people are afraid of me. They see me as "powerful", whatever that means. (All of these months later, after this conversation at work, I still just shake my head and go "what?!" because it makes absolutely no sense to me.) The only thing I can think of is that people don't like that I say I'm going to do something and then I actually go about doing it. I don't sit on my can and complain about what I don't like about education -- I'm actively trying to learn as much as I can so I can do something about it. If that makes people afraid of me...well I think that's on them.
After this conversation at school, I posted something on my FaceBook page and one of my colleagues (who, incidentally is also getting her doctorate) said that people only have power if it is assigned to them by others. I never really thought of it that way but realized how right she is. I don't think I'm better than anyone. I have a lot of passion for what I do and it may make me sound arrogant but it's not intended to be that way...and I don't think I'm better than anyone. If they think that's how I feel...well, they don't know me very well.
It came to a point that I even said at work (to the person who told me that people are afraid of me), "so I can't be proud of earning National Board status or that I'm going to be working on my doctorate because other people might think I'm boasting? That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard." (Yes, I really do say it like it is, even at work.)
Alas, I have decided that the people who really matter in my life (my husband, my kids, my real and true supporters) would never call me demoralizing (I was described this way at work by someone who barely knows me), would never think that I'm boasting to make them feel bad, would never in a million years think that *I* think I'm better than anyone else. They see the real me. They know everything I do is for one reason and it sure as hell isn't to make myself look good.
So I will be crazy and pursue this degree as I want to. I will be proud when I have a professor tell me that I have a brilliant mind (which incidentally just happened today). I will strive to learn as much as I can and truly learn how to make the biggest impact I can in the field of education. I will be 36 this summer (yikes! - how can I be almost 36 when I still feel like I'm about 22?) and figure I only have about 40 more years to make the impact I want to make in education. I'm not about to let any naysayers get in the way of that.