You’re an Educator: Be Selfish and Proud (within reason)…

Posted: July 17, 2012 in For Educators
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You’re a teacher. You chose a profession devoted to helping children. You give your time, energy and spirit to a career that is under-valued and under-compensated. You’re generous, compassionate and live with purpose. And these aren’t exaggerations (well maybe a little depending on the individual.) Understanding just how much you give, you deserve to, and must feed yourself when you can. Your friends and family members who are not in education will not fully understand what your days are like, no matter how eloquent you are with words. There’s simply no way of communicating what a day is like for a teacher. There’s no way of articulating the exhaustion… and the satisfaction, of how you spend 8-10 hours 5 days a the week (and even more when you have to grade tests and red pen essays). And because of this, you must learn how to be selfish and proud. There is no need to pursue altruism. You are in fact entitled to feel really good about yourself for what you do with your life. And you are in fact deserving of “you” time. Whether it’s an hour here and there, or a weekend, you must give yourself permission every now and then to feed your need to do things that refresh you (provided they’re ethical and cause no harm).

And this isn’t to say that you need to become arrogant or excessively demanding, or that you should overwhelm your loved ones with stories of your accomplishments. But you can, in quiet moments give yourself permission to feel the dignity of what you do.  And this is especially true for newer teachers. If you can develop the habit early to give yourself permission to feel good about the career you’ve chosen and to take time to regroup and refresh, you will be arming yourself with tools that can carry you through the rough, exhausting patches that will inevitably find their way to you. Careful though, you don’t want to overdo the selfish and proud thing and end up looking down at all other professions, alone with your satisfaction… ‘cause that would just ruin things.


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