Before I started teaching, I wanted to be an educational consultant. I wanted to do educational research. I wanted to be a prominent name in education. I wanted to be EVERYTHING in education... except a teacher.
I started teaching and loved the classroom. I loved the natural relationships with my students, I loved being responsible for the growth, I loved the challenges that came everyday and the feeling of overcoming them...I LOVED TEACHING AND I STILL DO. However, throughout these eight years, there's been times where I've felt that I needed to leave the classroom. I felt that it was time for me to move on. However, none of these feelings were 100%. The thought of actually not having my own students didn't even seem right to me. Anything that I applied for was never anything that I really wanted. It was something I did just to tell myself that I did make an effort to promote.
A couple of years ago I started actively pursing activities that were outside of the classroom, but allowed me to still be a full-time teacher. I started item writing, facilitating professional development, reviewing materials, scoring assessments, and serving on state committees. Let me tell you, I LOVE THIS LIFE! It's truly the best of both worlds. I love being a classroom teacher and I love the other things I do. That's the beauty of being self-made. If I don't love it, then I don't have to pursue it. Not one opportunity has the power to make me or break me.
THE OTHER BEST PARTS OF BEING A SELF-MADE EDUCATOR!
1. I love teaching. I'm not ready to leave the classroom. I have fun teaching, it's my happy zone. I love it even more because of my outside of the classroom experiences. I become better at teaching through my other opportunities. When I started serving on committees, facilitating professional developments, and serving in roles where I was "coaching", I actually learned more. I love this education stuff. I study it. I take it seriously. I'm constantly looking for ways to improve for my students and other students around the world. I learn more, get better, apply it, and repeat.
2. No one thing or one person can make me or break me. One of my least favorite phrases is "Fake It Till You Make It." Nahhh, I think I'll pass on that. I take pride in being a genuine person. I don't like kissing up to people. PERIOD. I don't like being nice to people only for my personal gain. PERIOD. I don't like engaging in malicious, back-stabbing behaviors. PERIOD. Being a self-made educator allows me to be me. I am responsible for the extra opportunities. Thankfully, I absolute love my current administration. I love my work environment. I'm truly blessed to be a teacher at Downtown Elementary School. However, it's still good to know that my job at Downtown Elementary School is not my only lane into education. I have several lanes open.
3. My soul is mine, and I choose to keep it. I don't really have a problem in my current school or district. I haven't been affected with doing things that are about money or looking good, and not best for students. However, there are some things being done in education that I am against. I don't have to do the educator version of "selling my soul." I don't want to be in a position, where I have to do something I know isn't in the best interest for students. I often think about how it must be harder to stand up against something that controls one job with a substantial amount of income. I understand that people have to take care of themselves and their family. In the past, I always considered that regarding my leaders. They have to do what they're asked of their superior in order to keep their well-paid job, to protect their livelihood, and to take care of their family. I 100% get that. That is completely understandable. My personal preference is to not be in that position. So, I'm very careful about school systems or organizations that I would even pursue a leadership position with if I wanted to.
4. I'm less stressed and more productive at school. Yes, the independent activities that I do resulted in me becoming less stressed at work. One reason is that through my independent activities, I learn more things about education. I collaborate with other educators, put things into practice, study curriculums, study standards, etc. All of these things made my teaching job that much easier. Another thing is that I don't stress about observations or anything. I never have been a person to get to worked up about an observation, anyway. However, because of my self-made perspective, I don't sweat any of those types of things. I don't have only one lane open into my passion. I have several. I keep my focus and energy solely on giving my all to my students and doing what is best for them.
5. It is the best of as many worlds as you like. There are so many educational opportunities out there and of course, the more experience you get, the more experience you'll get. I love meeting and collaborating with educators all over the world in different positions within the field. I love learning more about education, inspiring educators and getting inspired by educators, sharing my perspectives and learning new perspectives, studying curriculums and standards at deep levels, making educational decisions, creating high-quality materials for students...I love it all. The great thing about being self-made is you don't have to seek opportunities that you don't love. You don't have to obtain contracts with businesses and people that you don't agree with.That's why I'm now focused on making sure that through my platforms I show who I am and what I believe in. I want people who are interested in working with me to get a true depiction of my philosophy, prior to even contacting me.
So, as you can see...I love this self-made educator life. Now, my focus is really building my own platform. I love collaboration, so I'm working on building me a community of educators who share passions similar to mine. I'm focused on putting out the practices and strategies I really believe helps educate children and collaborating with other educators who want to do the same.
A SELF-MADE EDUCATOR