Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Whispers of Doubt"

I was fortunate to meet and eat with Sara Donovan at Panera last summer. She chooses her words well, and I envy her skill. Read her thoughts on her blog: Ethical ELA.

Three words she said to me rang something deep in me. 
"Whispers of doubt." 
I wrote them down when I got in the car. I needed to process them and write about them some day. Today's the day.

Whispers of doubt seep in...
   when we try something new
   when we want to say "no"
   when a "good morning" is not responded to
   when a student rolls her eyes
   when students struggle
   when the timing is off
   when a coworker sighs
   when we feel alone
   when we don't feel we can commit
   when we work for 12 hours on a weekend
   when we get one negative parent remark 
          (even alongside six positive)

Whispers of confidence creep up...
disguised as an EdCamp
full of passionate teachers
   foster parents
supportive - ALL...
If it's best for children.

If it's best for children,
shouldn't you...
   make time for what you believe works
   stand up and defend what's right
   speak out to the world
   share the ideas
   work on prioritizing the problems
   then work on solving the problems
   speak what you want to happen
   listen when others share

Even if you have whispers of doubt.

I love my career. Job. School. Coworkers. 
I wish we could get together in edcamp fashion more often.
I also love these "edcamp junkies" who are a special tribe.
Thank you Rebecca, Carrie, Maggie, Ben, Josh, Megan, Andrea, Michael, Heidi, Aggie, Ashley and Chuck Taft ;) for another stellar #EdCampMadWI
I am blessed.


  1. Hi Joy! I'm so glad Aggie made us take this picture! It's a winner and a great reminder of the power of a PLN. This picture makes me smile! YOU make me smile. It is an honor and privilege to call you my friend. Thanks for sharing this blog...I will listen to the whispers of confidence and forge on from there! Sending hugs from me to you.

    1. It's an honor and privilege to call YOU my friend, as well, Heidi! I love the power of our PLN - so uplifting - always! I hope those whispers of confidence turn up their volume... soon! ;)

  2. Yes, Joy!!!
    Love the JOY you bring me when we get to connect. Twitter brought us together, yet conferences and edcamps bring us closer. It's very rewarding to be surrounded by EduAmazing educators on our day off. We make sure we connect in person because we know we learn so much more together. Sharing is Caring!!!
    You all shout confidence; whispers are good yet our actions to connect and collaborate shout out to the world that educators are passionate and we won't allow our fellow educators to doubt that education is meaningful and empowering, so we do all we can to engage, educate , and empower our students. Love you all!

    1. "Empower" - such a strong word that I must reach for more often when it comes to our students. Thanks for continuing this conversation and for being part of my tribe, Maggie!

  3. Oh those whispers. I know them oh so well. They lie and they trick us. It has taken me many years to learn to ignore them learn to push past them and leap over them even when they hang on tight. And yes we do it if it's best for kids but also if it makes us happy (which is usually/almost always best for kids ...isn't that funny how they go together). I'm so very lucky. Actually to tears lucky Saturday night and yesterday. First Saturday because I felt just so incredibly blessed to have people in my life who unconditionally support my passion and ideas. People who find value in them and, no matter what others say or think. And then Sunday morning a tweet popped up thanking me for sharing Sketchnoting and that her students love it. My only response to that teacher was thank you. Thank you for being brave enough to try something new. Others are ignoring the whispers too!!!

    1. "Others are ignoring the whispers, too!!!" SWEET! I needed that, Carrie! Now that we've come out of the woodwork, other teachers will, too. Thank you for commenting and for being on this journey with me. <3