In Search of the Hum

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I love watching great TV shows! I’m not one who watches several different series at once like my husband, or one who can just plunk down in front of any show that happens to be on and enjoy watching it. Nope, I have my favourites and will keep up with them as time permits, and will joyously watch the same shows over and over again just because they make me feel happy! I’ve watched some series so many times that I can pretty much tell you exactly where in the season a line in an episode came from, and what other story lines are going on.

My all-time favourites include Friends, Full House, Gilmore Girls, and Grey’s Anatomy.  The creators and writers of these shows are just amazing, and they let me escape the real world and into their “tv world” for just enough time to appreciate all that I have in my life.

Now, by this point you might be asking, what is a blog post about my favourite TV shows doing on my teaching blog? Well, you see, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes, who is also the creator of my two “new” favourites, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, presented this amazing TED talk recently, and I think once you watch it you’ll see why it can have everything to do with teaching.

[ted id=2438]

Amazing right?

Now, if you didn’t watch it…well…I’m afraid to tell you that you cannot pass Go, you cannot collect your $200, and you probably won’t really get the rest of my blog post…but I hope you’ll keep reading anyhow!

The Hum. I know exactly what she means. I love the Hum!

“There’s some kind of shift inside me when the work gets good. A hum begins in my brain, and it grows, and it grows, and that hum sounds like the open road and I could drive it forever.” 

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I hope you have experienced it in your life too! It is a magical feeling when everything is just humming along, falling into place. You’re able to think, to write, to express your thoughts and feelings and put ideas into plans, and plans into action. You smile as you work and might even forget to stop for a meal because you’ve simply lost all track of time, and are just lost in your own creativity and process.


As an aspiring teacher, I feel like the Hum is something that you need both for yourself and for your students. It can be fostered in the classroom by creating a safe space, a creative place, and a comfortable home for students to express their thoughts, ideas, and dreams. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to encourage all of your students to find their own Hum in their work?!

“When you have a hum like that, you can’t help but strive for greatness.”

But, what happens when you loose the Hum?

Ms. Rhimes discussed what her experience with loosing the Hum was like in her “Titan work.” She kept going, but felt nothing inside.

“What do you do when the thing you do, the work you do, starts to taste like dust?”

This line got me. I know this feeling. I’m living this feeling. Right now.

They say that teacher burnout is a real thing. There’s lots of articles out there on it. Like this one about warning signs, or this one that includes some scary statistics, or this one that looks at some of the social causes behind teacher burnout. Is it all really about burn out though? Or is it about teachers not having that hum? Are they missing their drive, their raison d’être?

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So am I experiencing teacher burn out? I don’t think so. Really, I don’t think I have a lot to be burned out about! Sure, I’ve got lots of projects, lessons and units to plan, a gymnastics business to run, a family to love, friends to keep up with, and my own sanity to deal with, but I wouldn’t say I have all of the bureaucratic and administrative loads that are often a contributing factor of burn out. No, I’ve just lost my hum.

I used to LOVE doing school work! As an elementary and high school student I would eagerly dive into doing my work because I loved it! I loved working on my gymnastics business too, and creating all sorts of fun events and classes! Even this past semester at university I throughly enjoyed working on the majority of my school work, and I have been continually praised for the great work that I do! But in the last while, it’s declined. I’ve lost it. I’ve lost the hum.

It came in stages. I lost my hum for gymnastics a while ago, and it has been through the persistence of my husband that I have been able to keep going, finding glimpses of that hum every now and then. The school one was lost just recently though, and I’m not sure yet how to get it back.

“When the hum stops, who are you? What are you? Who am I?”

I’m at a point in the semester where I should be growing excited for my 3-week pre-internship block, wrapping up projects due in the next week or so, and really finding my grove in unit and lesson planning. It’s not happening though. At least, not the way I want it to. Sure, I’ve got cool ideas for my unit, and am kind of excited to see it all laying out, but it’s not the same. It feels forced without the hum. I don’t feel like me, and I’m not sure what I’m doing.

“If the song of my heart ceases to play, can I survive in the silence?”

I am hopeful that I will find my hum again, but I do hope that it is soon. I feel a lot of pressure (even though I know I don’t need to and it’s all coming from my own perceptions) to be this amazing teacher. People tell me “you’ll be the most amazing teacher!” But what if I disappoint them? What if I’m not as amazing as other people want me to be? As amazing as I want me to be? What then? I’m fearful that without my hum I do not know who I am.

So perhaps you can help me friends. Don’t just tell me, “Oh you’re going to be great!” or “There’s no way you could be anything but awesome,” because that’s not going to help me find my hum. If I’m to follow the advice of Shonda Rhimes, I need to play, to hang out, to just do something fun. I need to find joy and love in something other than finding the hum. I need to find my own confidence again. I need to work AND play. I need to find the balance in order for my hum to find its way back into my life. Like Ms Rhimes, I need to find a new hum; one that can bring back the passion and drive in both my life and my work. So, will you help me? I brought rainbow
kittens if that helps!




One thought on “In Search of the Hum

  1. Brandon Debert says:

    “What do you do when the thing you do, the work you do, starts to taste like dust?” Kendra I cannot agree with you more, I am also at this point in the semester/education program where I feel like I just have no reason to continue. As you know I was recently in Dominican and all week I thought about what I was doing and where I was going. I wanted to stay on the resort and just dance and party with the locals, working at the resorts, browning my skin, living the island life. However, we both know that, that life is not ideal. I think this past week I found my HUM again, I am excited to be back and ready to take on the last little bit of the semester. We are almost at the end and I can see the light. I am also super excited for my pre-internship and ready to start being a teacher. Although the teaching profession is about growing and reflecting always I am ready to grow beyond my feelings about the education program and think more of myself.

    “If the song of my heart ceases to play, can I survive in the silence?” There is always ways to survive. I can tell you that our friendship and our profession will suit us both best. I am always here to life you up and carry you until your ready to walk on your own, and I hope you’ll do the same.

    Lets continue to strive for the HUM and push each other to realize that the HUM is always inside us we just have to look optimistically for it.

    Your’s Truly


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