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Asking For Help

Asking for help is something that has never been easy for me.

I’ve always been the type of person who thinks I can do everything on my own, or have been too timid to reach out and ask others to assist me– I think a big part of that is fear of being told no or having someone think less of me for not being able to do whatever it is on my own.

Lately I’ve learned (or maybe re-learned) that it’s actually okay to reach out and ask for help, and that the mentality of “I can do everything on my own” is not really a good way of thinking.

A great example is a recent project I was assigned to complete for one of my classes, which involved interviewing a current Language Arts teacher about their job and compiling a presentation with my findings.

Writing the interview questions was a snap, but finding someone to interview is something that I dreaded doing since I do not currently work in a school, and therefore thought it would be really weird (and kind of creepy) to call up a local middle school and ask to interview a teacher.

After beating myself up for several days over not keeping in closer contact with old college friends who are now teachers that could possibly help me, and with the due date quickly approaching, I decided I was going to have to do something. At one point I actually considered asking my brother-in-law to be my interview subject since he is currently the homeschool teacher for my niece (who reads at a middle school level), but I decided that route probably would not pass muster with my professor as a valid interview.

A quick scan of my Facebook friends list revealed a couple of likely candidates, and after much internal debate, I picked two to ask and decided a private message explaining my predicament and asking for help would be an acceptable solution. I hoped for the best as I hit the send button.

Waiting to hear back from my potential interview subjects was a tense few minutes, and I was overjoyed to hear that they would be happy to help (and that my request wasn’t weird since most teacher candidates have to complete similar tasks). I’m really excited to hear the responses, as any wisdom or insight shared from teachers who are actually working in the St. Louis area is likely to be much more useful than the generic scenarios presented in the textbooks from my classes.

Learning that it’s actually okay to ask for help today was huge for me, and I plan to keep practicing the art of asking when help is needed as this is a valuable skill to master.  I’m still a little iffy on contacting people I don’t communicate with on a regular basis to ask for help, but knowing that there are great people out there willing to offer assistance despite not keeping in close, regular contact is reassuring– and encouragement to reach outside of my comfort zone and work on building relationships with some of those people. 🙂

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