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If you’ve ever felt like you don’t get the attention or respect you deserve from the people who know you well, you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve even heard the saying that no one is a prophet in their own land? The phrase has it’s origins in Luke 4:24 meaning that this phenomenon is by no means new. The basic idea is that people take for granted the things they’re familiar with.

This can take many forms including when you tell a loved one about a restaurant you want to go to, only for them to dismiss you. Then, later that same loved one may come back telling you about how they want to go to that same restaurant because their friend told them it was great. If you’re laughing because this has happened to you, you’re not alone. It’s so common that we’ve all probably experienced one or both sides of it yet, yet it can be exceptionally hard to defeat.


Applications in Education
The same thing frequently happens in education when one educator tells another about a new idea or strategy. Sometimes it may feel like the idea or strategy gets dismissed before the sentence is complete.

It can drive you bonkers because you’re pretty sure that what you’re sharing is worthwhile, if you’d only be taken seriously. It can sow seeds of doubt that make you question whether others are right for not taking you seriously. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic spell to make this reality go away. However, I do have a couple pieces of advice for you:

  • Realize that you’re not alone in feeling this way, and there’s a good chance that the people who doubt you also feel that way because they’re often the ones being doubted.
  • Consider sharing what you’re doing in other ways. For example, if you’ve got great lesson ideas and strategies, consider posting them on social media or presenting them at a conference. Doing this has several great results including:
    • it will give you valuable feedback that’s less biased, help you determine your ideas’ worth, and help you refine your ideas.
    • the next time someone doubts you, you’ll have a reserve of memories you can go back to to help you find balance and realize that it’s not you.
    • it may also cause people to give your ideas a second look when they see that others like them too.


I hope that me sharing this helps you realize that you’re pretty normal for feeling this way. I’m not saying that it should make you any less frustrated. Just that you’re not alone.

If this has happened to you before, I’d love to know what saying you use to describe this phenomenon or any other suggestions you have for defeating it. Please let me know in the comments.

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  1. My antidote to the feeling of me or my ideas being overlooked or worse is to remind my self of the following saying,

    “…don’t go fishing where the fish don’t bite…”

    For many years I did n’t understand what this meant but then years later I suddenly did.

  2. There is a lot of what I term “Math Damage” out there. People misplace the tag of fear by placing it on Math, but I have come to understand largely folks don’t fear Math – they fear failure, and the majority of the folks who doubt more progressive mathematics are truly afraid to fail. Especially in front of students. The odd thing is that is a space where we can teach so many great things – productive struggle, perseverance, problem solving, critical thinking, etc.

    Understanding where the doubt comes from, honoring it and then helping someone overcome it with patience is the key to its defeat. I look at some of the teachers I work with as the frogs in a cold pot, I warm the pot up gradually with simple positive interactions with different mathematical experiences. Warming them up to math a little at a time so they don’t even notice. Of course, I will take them off the heat before they are cooked. ; )

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