Educator Spotlight: Chris Gerrard
Educator in Scotland defeats insecurity with courage, advocacy
This story is part of a weekly series that celebrates outstanding teachers in our Flipgrid community. Stories by Angela Tewalt.
For children and adults alike, it can be intimidating to put ourselves out there.
If we have to speak in front of a crowd, read to a group of peers, present an idea to strangers or wave into a camera with gusto, many do so with apprehension fighting the smile on display.
But for millions of educators across the world, they do it anyway. Not only do teachers always prevail, but the possibility of encouraging even one student is bigger than any fear, so away they go. And, oh, the places they go.
Chris Gerrard is an additional support needs teacher in Glasgow, Scotland. Not only does he work with students who every day stand up to anxiety and communication fears, he feels it all along with them.
Three years ago, he couldn’t have imagined pushing record and smiling into a camera for all his students and colleagues to see. But today, he’s got nearly 2,000 views on multiple Flipgrid videos, all of which accompany weekly tech discussions in front of colleagues, presentations on global stages with a cape on his back to boot, selfies with an extraordinary smile and empowering tutorials that leave you feeling like the superhero Chris knows you can be.
It’s all because he believed in himself enough to try anyway.
“There’s this saying that self-consciousness stifles creativity,” says Chris, who’s been teaching for nearly 20 years. “I used to worry about everything. I couldn’t speak in public — I would’ve been too quiet to do anything like that. But now, I’m so much more comfortable and confident in my own skin. I’m doing things I never would have done even a year ago, and it’s simply because I’ve taken time to make videos through Flipgrid. It’s been totally life-changing for me, just the best experience of my life.
“I don’t care what people think anymore. I’m now just totally silly me, because nobody wants another somebody else. They want you, right? Maybe it’s a bit cheesy, but you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it and persevere.”