Over the past two weeks, three different teachers have said to me something along the lines of:
"I want to spend time being (enter first name) more than I spend time as (enter whatever your students call you)"
One my teacher mentees during mentorship and two teachers on Clarity Calls recently all expressed the same desire - to live more life for them.
Teaching is demanding, it's hard, and it comes with unrealistic expectations that for some reason many of us think we have to try to exceed. The problem is, when we try to do it all (and many of us loveee to do it all by ourselves) we get caught up in the rat race. We put the things we love aside, put ourselves on the shelf for later and don't realize how we're slowly chipping away at who we really are and the things that make us, us.
We take on a new identity: Teacher.
During my second year of teaching, I was 26 years old, living in Scottsdale, ya know, doing the whole dating scene thing. I remember I used to dread when guys would ask me "So, what do you do for fun?"
I laugh out loud now when I think back to this but I honestly hated that question. I felt so anxious anytime someone asked me that.
Because the only things I felt like I did were eat, sleep, teach, and go out on the weekends with my friends.
Nooo way was I going to tell someone "Oh for fun I teach and hit the club!" My self-awareness was obviously limited at this time but not that limited to not see how lame that was.
So, I'd make stuff up. L o l.
Anyway, my point is - I've been there. But, I didn't stay there. So now I can help you.
You may not be in as severe of a case as I was, but if you've read this far, my guess is you got a lil somethin' similar goin on or you're relating on some level.
If you're in this situation, I want you to get a piece of paper (or start a journal, that would be ideal) and something to write with.
Scribble out some reflections on the following:
What did you love to do as a kid? I'm not talking play outside or go to the park. I mean those unique things that made you, you! Example: I lovedddd writing. I used to write movie scenes, playwrights, stories - just for fun. (I won the Young Author's award if 7th grade and still v proud of myself for that one!)
What did you love to do as a teenager? Again, the unique talents and hobbies. Mine was drawing. I was still writing and now I was filling up blank paged books full of illustrations of that would pop into my head. I also LOVED scrapbooking (like, obsessed)
What is that one thing you could talk about all day long? You can pick more than one but think about those things that you know a lot about and LOVE (like you are lit up AF) when you're having a conversation about.
What words describe you? Think about the things you love about yourself. Are you giving? Witty? Charitable? Adventurous? Inspiring? Creative? If you need help with this, think about what your parents love about you! What does your partner or best friend say about you? What do people come to you for? What are the things about you that could never be taken from you?
When I took time to do this, I remembered how creative I really was. I remembered how much I loved to bring things to life. This helped me get back into writing - but this time it was in the form of journaling and taking an interest in social media / influencing. It also led me to discover a new hands-on creative outlet that I didn't know I loved: cooking and baking.
By doing this, you're creating space to uncover what's hiding underneath all the hustle & bustle. Get back in touch with you. It's not going to happen on its own, you have to make it happen.
Remember, teaching is a role you play, it's something you do. It's not and never will be (or can be) who you are.
Take your power back, remember the things you love and the words that describe who you are as a person. Because in the end, what could be more important? How can you live your life doing things you truly love if you don't know what those things are anymore? And living a life not doing things you absolutely love and adore is no way to live (in my opinion).
All of us want to feel passion, purpose, and JOY every single day. Getting clear on who you are, reconnecting with yourself and staying connected with yourself is #1 to finding all of that.
For more, check out The Create Flow Evolve Method, my 90-day teacher mentorship program that brings you back to you and gives you the tools to put yourself first every single day.