The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for Gary and me. We have known for quite a while that our book, The Teacher and The Admin: Making Schools Better for Kids would be a reality at some point, but to actually see a book, hold a book, see others with a book that you have had a part in writing is an emotional and proud moment, while at the same time it’s a scary proposition.
I find myself worrying not so much about sales, but rather how will the book be received. I’m constantly asking myself the following questions:
- Will anyone care?
- Is it any good?
- Who did I forget to highlight or mention?
- Did I offend anyone?
- Will our book provide value to the field?
Don’t get me wrong I am not going for the humblebrag; I am proud of this accomplishment. I am happy that Gary and I were able to create something that will hopefully make a difference even if for just one educator or student. It’s just that the fear of failure, of embarrassment, peaks its head into my thoughts all too often.
These thoughts have made me more aware of how difficult it must be for our students to take a risk, for teachers to be creative, for anyone to try something new or put themselves out there.
How often do our students live with the fear of being rejected? How about our teachers? This realization has made me want to be more involved, pay more attention, be kind, and be thoughtful when ideas come my way, when someone challenges the status quo when people are brave enough to “Jump off the High Dive” as Evan Robb says in his inspirational TEDx.
Have I offended anyone yet? I think not, other than my father, who despite his obvious pride in my accomplishment has set the record straight.
He was the one who gave me the idea of the “Good News Cards”, a fact I failed to mention in the parent involvement chapter. I am sure he would also have appreciated fewer stories about others and more about Frank.
Our last five conversations have gone something like this.
“Hey Kris I really love your book, I keep reading it, wow that principal Paul really helped you a lot huh?”
“Yes, Dad you know how much I learned from Paul.”
“Oh, that’s nice (insert a little grunt). Well, you learned a lot from other people too right Kris? Like the person who gave you the idea for the Good News Cards right? I wonder where you got that idea?”
“I wonder who you learned the most from Kris.”
Obviously, I am messing with him a bit at this point and refuse to say “ you dad”, but he is relentless and after five or six times I finally relented and said:
“You dad, I learned a lot from you, I learned it from watching you!”
This isn’t our first go around, we have done this dance before. I know what happens next. I chuckle at my reference to the 80’s anti-drug commercial and he screams to his wife Lucielle who is in the other room……..
“HEY LUCILLE KRIS SAYS HE LEARNED MORE FROM ME THAN ANYONE!!! SEE I TOLD YOU LUCILLE HE GOT HALF THAT STUFF IN THE BOOK FROM ME.”
We go on for a bit, a few digs about how nice it was that I mentioned my maternal grandmother in a tone that is saying why her and not more about meeeeeeee!
Now, I know I could be reading into that, but those who know Frank would probably make the same conclusions about his intent.
Despite his need for validation, he always ends our conversation by telling me how proud he is of me, through some tears and a few more rhetorical questions like “You know how much I love you right?” or “You know I lived my life for you right? “
The tears may or may not be real, but I am sure his pride is authentic.
The fear of disappointing others, the fear of not paying proper respect to all of the people who have influenced me, shaped me, taught me, had patience with me, and picked me up when I needed it most is a real, but it is not as strong as seeing my mother, my father, my wife, and even my kids beam with pride when they see my name on a published book.
That fear of failure is worth it when I see friends, colleagues, Board of Education members, family members in pictures with books in hand. Heck, I have even been featured on our family Facebook page, Felicello Cousins!
My mom’s pride was on full display when she publicly posted on Facebook that she “even read Gary’s part” and to her surprise “didn’t find it boring.” It was too tempting not to get in the meme game.
Making that one lead to others and then to placing The Teacher and The Admin in the hands of some unlikely people and in unlikely places using one of my favorite APPs Face-in-Hole.
It was so much fun that Gary and I have decided to get others involved. We plan to give away five free books to the most creative memes or “appearances” of the book.
If you would like to get in on the fun— simply create a meme, take a picture with the book, or make a fake one and tweet it to #TTATAbook by the end of the month.
If you want to hear from Gary and me, pick up a few tips, and have a few laughs check out the second episode of our new pod on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.