So this week I had the pleasure of seeing my name in print; I've written my first article. Published in the March/April 2017 issue of Primary Science, something I have written has been accepted and published by the ASE.
In this blog, I was planning on reflecting on my feelings about the finished article - but that's easy to deduce. There are a copious number of adjectives I could use to desribe my pride in such an achievement (yes, it has been shared with and lovingly received by friends and family). I think the real value is understanding how this came to happen.
Not long before I saw the message from Leigh (editor) on the ever popular Facebook group 'Unleash the infants', my mindset was deep rooted that I am passionate about primary science education, but that I didn't have anything new to add to the established conversations or themes.
For years, even as a student teacher, I had set myself the goal of writing an article for Primary Science. It was (and still is) a journal that I hold in high regard, possibly because of its more informal writing style compared to other journals. Whilst this pedestal I'd put the journal on made it an ambition to write, it also seemed to place it further away from achieving. Would they really want me to write something? What have I got to say? Aren't I just repeating/stealing other teachers' ideas? These questions, along with plenty of others became the barrier I had to overcome.
It is hard to pinpoint the moment I felt I had something to contribute, however, looking back at some of the milestones (albeit small), there is a common theme - community.
The ASE is an incredibly welcoming community, particularly primary science! From my first steps engaging with #ASEChat on a Monday evening, to attending the annual conference, I have never felt intimidated or not accepted. Every member of the ASE community shows respect and acceptance of others. I often used to think "Oh, I'm just a class teacher. What do I know?" This was especially true when attending lectures surrounded by professors, doctors, lecturers and teachers who had spent their teaching career in primary science education. I didn't think my 4 years of teaching experience in a one-form entry school had any weight in this arena, I was inadequate.
Whilst I realise these are my internal judgements, they held fast. It has only been through slowly sharing ideas with the ASE and other science educators through Twitter, Facebook and my blog that my contributions towards conversations began to change. Equally, achieving the PSQM Silver award for school also helped in this, as did my commencement of my MA in Science Education at King's College London.
However, as I mentioned at the top of this blog, my first published article would never have happened if it wasn't for Leigh asking. I know I'd still be sitting here now, with the ambition of writing for Primary Science and willing myself to find something to write about.
Now, I've achieved it (in fact, my second article is in the May/June issue!) and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities ASE has presented me with and I am to long continue this community feel and encourage others to write, even if it is just a blog that no-one appears to read (I refer to myself here!). Small steps.