I heard a question recently: On a scale of 1 – 10, how meaningful is your career?
My own answer was immediate: 10. I’m fortunate, I know. I believe strongly in what we do as educators. I believe in our ability to empower our students through literacy. I believe that we influence students beyond the curriculum.
But sometimes amid the pressure, the paperwork, or the politics, we may lose sight of why we do what we do.
It is when I am surrounded by students that I know that my career is meaningful. Last week, a grade one student who I had only met about half an hour prior, came to me in tears, “Can you help me?” We worked together for the next few minutes. He trusted me enough to ask for help and I didn’t leave before I saw a smile. It was a small moment, yes. And yet, if he hadn’t reached out, it may have turned into a big moment for that six-year-old.
Our work matters.
On a scale of 1 – 10, how meaningful is your career?
I have a confession to make: I cancelled three social engagements this week because I was swamped with work and trying to meet deadlines.
I know this is not good balance. I know I need to look after myself in order to give my best to others. I know, I know.
And yet… three times… I cancelled. I’ve also neglected exercise. No time, I’ve told myself. Is this week unique? Sadly, no.
I also know I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by many teachers who invest endless hours in the evenings and weekends to give the best to their students. Sometimes it feels like we give and give and give…
My Pembroke author colleague, Lisa Bush, wrote Teaching Well: How healthy, empowered teachers lead to thriving, successful classrooms. I’ve been thinking about her a lot this week. So today I returned to her book:
“If we are going to be in the teaching profession for years – or decades – wellness is not a luxury. It is a basic necessity.” “If we want to be the best possible versions of ourselves, we must put our wellness as teachers as a top priority.”
And so, this week, I’m going to strive for balance. I’m going to stop working at a decent hour each day. I’m going to carve out some time to exercise. I’m also going to reschedule at least one of the social engagements I bailed on last week. I might even fly to New York on Friday night. (Okay, that last one was planned…)