Tweaking your identity

There are so many facets to an identity: home, school, work, family, friends, the list could go on. I’ve had a myriad of roles within each during my lifetime. But for the last 13 years I have owned just one in my work life: Teacher. And it has been great. My kids have made my life richer. They have challenged my mind but never my heart. I’ve loved them all, even in their most tangled of selves.

Starting as Miss P in Room 23, I was terrified of being in front of these kids. Would they like me? Respect me? Learn from me? Have fun in my classroom? Remember me when they left? I’m not sure how much that class actually learned from me, brand new teacher, but I have a file that holds a faded orange card from my Carletta “Blueberries” telling me that I was the most fantabulous, wonderful, and exceptional teacher she’d ever had. All these years later, I believe the same about her. I’ve had student after student come through the door of Room 23 and Room 14 for the last 13 years. Some are more clear in my mind than others, but the impression that they all left as one of “my kids” forever sticks with me, and I hope with them.

During the last few years especially, my teaching has changed. It has become so much more about us than me. The students, their families, my colleagues, and me. That’s the us. Together we have made amazing changes and have grown so much that I am continuously thankful for all of them. They teach me every day about the value of inquiry, curiosity, listening, love, questioning, caring, camaraderie, laughter, and heart.

As I tweak my work identity and leave my classroom behind, a little bit of me fears losing a piece of what makes me me. I am a teacher with a classroom. It is who I am. I tell myself that I will still be a teacher and that the best parts of my identity will only be made stronger now: inquiry, curiosity, listening, love, questioning, caring, camaraderie, laughter, and heart. I’m ready. I think.

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6 thoughts on “Tweaking your identity

  1. This is a profound blog entry. Moving on from something we love to something new is scary and does tweak identity. And as you said in your profile–you are tweaking your identity by recognizing that you are a writer. Life is a journey…not a destination, so they say. May, in the next steps of your journey, you find happiness, fulfillment and love. You ARE a teacher. And that happens wherever you are. Good luck.

    By the way, I love the little worm in your blog. Cute!

  2. So beautifully told. I was thinking how lucky the world of education was to have you as a teacher in it. If you are heading into a job where you help teachers to grow, I know you will bring the same wonderful qualities to it. And so many children will grow as a result of your extended reach.

  3. This resonates so much with me, as I too am in the same place… I’ve been having these really superficial thoughts of worrying about whether anyone will remember that one upon a time I was a really good teacher. I love the evolution of your post, going form will they remember me to it being all about the students. I too have moved alnong that path, I realize that my goal int to create students who are dependent on me, but who can go out on their own, taking what they’ve gleaned from our time together and do amazing things! Thinking of you, wishing you strength and resolve to know that you’ve done great things,a me you’ve made the right decision. Take care and enjoy your last few months in the classroom.

  4. I like how Ellen, from above, said it. You are heading into a job where you will be helping teachers to stretch and grow. You will bring yourself to the position – you are a teacher AND a learner. The best combo!
    WAY COOL additions to your blog. You must show me how you did it!

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