toot your own horn

Recently I was told by a principal in our district that I need to get better at tooting my own horn.  (It was a bit frustrating to hear this as I have colleagues across the district and in at least 4 other districts in the county that are aware of the work I do.)   But the comment reminded me of the first time I heard this phrase.

I was a junior in high school and my parents and I were meeting with my class advisor to review my plans for after graduation.  I told him about the colleges I wanted to apply to and he looked over my academic records and said, “You need to get involved in some extra curricular activities.”  My mom was flabbergasted.  Of course this was in the 70’s when most school personnel equated “extra curricular” with sports or being in the band or a cheer leader.  My parents told the advisor I was involved in outside activities: Girl Scouts, church youth group, the drama club  and the school literary journal.

The advisor quickly wrote these down and asked me more about my interests. I did get into the college I wanted to attend and I’m sure the application essay I had to write speaking to my passions and engagement helped as I was a capable, but not stellar, student.

It was discouraging to realize a teacher who was supposed to “know” me and advise me hadn’t a clue about who I was or what I cared about.  The exchange prompted my dad to tell me I needed to learn to “toot my own horn.”


About Ameliasb

daughter, sister, wife, mom, early childhood specialist, creator of poems, photos and sweaters View all posts by Ameliasb

6 responses to “toot your own horn

  • Juliann

    We are talking about the book Quiet at work and trying to make sure we are knowing, seeing, and hearing all of our students – not just the kids who have their hand up or who are president of this club or that, but the kids who are drawing and writing and trying to figure out how to survive in a schooling world that is so extrovered. It is good thinking and talking.

  • Gretchen Staebler

    Ridiculous. Give the principal a complimentary subscription to your blog. In it you just quietly record what you are doing, and anyone who knows anything at all needs only read it to know you are fabulous. I’m guessing the principal is so engaged with his/her own tooting, that everyone else has to beat him/her over the head with themselves to get attention. I’m envisioning “Look what I did!” picket signs with a band and cheerleaders and dribbling basketballs.

  • Two years and finishing strong...

    yep…getting to know our students and their passions need to be our #1 goal…always. xo

  • Terje

    Some toot, some do. Some tooters get little done. Some doers are amazing. I cheer for the amazing doers.

  • Christina Williams

    This makes me think of the work I’m doing in my classroom right now…10 days into school and learning new things about my kids every day.

  • fireflytrails

    Tooting your own horn is not easy for some of us. I had this same discussion with my son when he was recently in the midst of his post college job search. In that case it is important to make others aware of what you can do.
    But in the case of people you already work with, I think it speaks volumes about the person who doesn’t notice things on his/her own. I think Gretchen is on to something! Love the suggestion about the blog subscription!

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