I'm really struggling. I lost my job in November and I'm in the midst of trying to balance what I do with who I am.

I wrote in January about the confusion I feel with identity. It's even bigger now, with more questions than answers. Bill Ferriter was kind enough to leave a very wise comment for me:

I definitely think there's an expiration date for people who walk away from the classroom -- both in your own ability to understand just what it means to be a real-live bona fide full time classroom teacher and in your ability to maintain credibility as a practitioner in the eyes of those of us who are still in the classroom. That's unavoidable. It is what it is. Your challenge is reminding yourself that your work still carries value. In many ways, you get to empower teachers now in ways that you could never do before. It's a different kind of rewarding, but it is still rewarding, none the less.

(That's just a snippet, but it helps.)

In May, I wrote more about being a teacher...what it means for identity and working. I still think that a teacher is a holistic undertaking - you don't do teaching. You are a teacher. It's unique in the sense that not many other professions can make the same claim.

I think I had it right back in January - I need to stop defining myself by one quality. I may not be in a classroom, my expiration date may be past, but I'm inextricably wound up in education, regardless of what I do. Maybe that's the real lesson.

2 thoughts on “Teacher

  1. Alan Levine says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been let go. I protest by vowing to never use Camtasia (actually I never have, useless gesture).

    This also does not help, but I learned from the leader in a men’s group I was in once that, most men identify themselves by their job. That’s their reference point when meeting other people. I’ve only known you through twitter and ds106, and can’t say I identify who you are by a job title. It’s the stuff I’ve seen you do, and ideas. Heck, with that podcast you did, I’d think of you more as an audio storyteller.

    Bill’s advice would be similar to what I would say. You can be a teacher w/o working in a classroom full of students. I’m pretty sure I have been teaching since 1993 and have been a classroom teacher for maybe 5% of that time.

    I admire the devotion to be a teacher you described in the first post. It means so much to have that internal drift and I empathize with the lost rudderless feeling. Take some time to find a new rudder.

    But in no way are you defined nor identified by a job title. At least to me.

  2. […] written at length about the unique struggle teachers go through when it comes to our work. Our community is […]

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