June 8, 2011

Do What You Love, Love What You Do...or stop doing it. (Prompt 9)


The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we loath to disappoint them. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson says: "Always do what you are afraid to do." What is 'too scary' to write about? Try doing it now.

My Response:
What the what is that quote or prompt trying to tell me?

I had to email Kelsi the prompt with the subject line "help?" before I could even get started and only after some extensive help from her and Google did I even get a handle on what that quote might mean.

Basically this - in general, we like to know who we are. We want to know ourselves. We want to be able to answer the cocktail question of "What do you do?" with a concise, wrapped-up-neat-in-a-box answer. We want to be able to write an About Me page without having an existential life crisis at age 23. (No? Just me?)

But life just isn't like that.

Life is messy. We are going to change our minds A LOT. We're going to mess up, say things we regret, say different things to try to make it better and it just keeps going.

This constant state of change is scary.

Scary to think about for ourselves. But even scary to think about our friends considering. Has the phrase "you've changed" ever started a positive conversation? We want to be who we have always been, because that's who your friends chose to be friends with, your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife fell in love with, and well...your family is stuck either way, but you get the idea.

We want things to stay the same. For ourselves and for others. So we stick to our boxes. We color inside the lines. We do what we are supposed to do. We show up for work in the morning. We play the game. We go home, go to bed (way too late for the third night in a row) and get up the next day to do it all over again.

Laaaaaaaaame, right?


I have a silver ring I wear everyday that mom got my after college graduation and it says "Do what you love, love what you do."

The addendum to that? If you don't love it anymore, stop doing it.

{this is the part where I actually make my point}
You know where there are way too many people who don't love it anymore? Education. Honest to God - I love my profession, I love being a teacher and I have all the respect in the world for anyone who gets up in the morning and teaches anyone, anywhere, anytime.

But those people who are just showing up to make it through one more day? They stink to work with. And that's hard to write about and scary to write about, because it's not very nice and it's judgmental and on some days, hypocritical. But seriously, if you don't love it anymore or if you never did or if you hate it more days than you love it, than what are you still doing here? And how are we all supposed to work together when we have so many different agendas?

The day I start making decisions based on what I personally think my students should learn and not what is based in educational research. Or when I think of my students as little devils out to destroy me on a regular basis and not young people just trying to figure it all out. Or when I think of the upcoming class period, day, week, month or school year with a feeling of dread and not an opportunity. Or I make decisions based on what is easier for me and not best for my students.

Those will be the days I know it's time to move on to something different.

Some people are teacher's for five years. Some are teacher's for a lifetime. I am not sure yet which I will be, but when I figure it out I know I won't hesitate to execute it. Life is too short to work without passion.

And it's too short to work with people whose number one priority isn't this:

What can I do right now, in this moment, today to help __________ learn ___________?

Bet you didn't think that's where this post was going, did you? Yeah....me neither.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent point, Kristin. In the U.S., it seems that burned out teachers get stuck in education because they don't know what else to do, or because they have a few years in and the promise of a retirement package and "security" seems worth all the suffering.

It's hard to do what you love when you don't really love to do anything.

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