It’s OK to Not Always Identify as a Teacher

I recently started another blog which has been very enjoyable for me. It is a more personal blog in terms of it not having to do solely with education, but not personal like a private diary. It’s basically my daily thoughts on whatever, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes just observational.

Starting this new blog, I was directed to update my profile or create a new one. It lead me to this blgo and how I described myself. At first I thought uh-oh, what did I write here? It may look like I don’t enjoy being a teacher when I say something like “happy to be at the point where I’m closer to retiring than the beginning of my career”.

This is not the case at all.  Earlier in my career, I only identified as “teacher”.  (I have already mentioned this in other entries.) I wanted to be an expert in my field, or at least well-versed,  and share knowledge, fun, experience and love of learning to my students. I think I did. I take pride in how I conducted myself as a teacher.

Now as I recognize I’m entering mid-career and becoming a “senior” teacher I’m  able to detach a little more. This has also occurred because I have become a parent. I have been unable to dedicate the same time to my passion. I’m ok with this. I haven’t lost the desire to teach at all. In fact, the most exciting times I’ve had as a teacher in recent memory has been the past three years when starting to teach online and blended learning.

Ive been transitioning from living to teach to teaching to live.  I’m bringing more of myself into the classroom and I can only do this when I have more to give. I use my down time to experience more out of life and bring it back to the classroom. The cliche, I’ve become a student of life.  I can reach students in a more profound way because I’ve lived more of my life. I’m using “application” from a rubric. (Bad joke and I really really really hate rubrics, but that’s another entry). I always said I wanted to prepare my students for real life, but I wasn’t experiencing real life in my bubble. I have no right to think I can tell them what to expect when I really have no clue. I still don’t, but I’m open to learning and sharing and exploring options with my students.

So, I am teaching to live right now.  I’m a better teacher because I’m learning more, living more, enjoying the experience more.  I use my days in the class to give me inspiration for the times I’m out of the class.  I have never backed down from my original goal – if I just teach/reach one student, if they take something from my class – I’ve done my job. But guess what? I reached ME! I want to keep learning, I’ve come full circle.

I’m not embarrassed, I’m proud that I’m closer to retirement than the beginning of my career. I’m  better at living, I’m better at reaching out. Ultimately, I’m closer to becoming a full time student again, and I love it!

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