For this blog I am going rogue and ditching the 3-2-1 format. I am just going to share my thoughts on my teacher identity.
I enjoyed reading Krista Yerks experience of first year teaching and how it changed her identity. When I was young and thinking about going into Education I had an image of myself teaching, similar to what Krista described, heels clicking on the floor as I walked, in perfect control of everything. Some of that image was because of what I saw, and some of what I chose to see. Teachers were my idols, my super heroes as a kid and even as a teen they had to do something news worthy to change my mind about their perfection. As a mature student and future teacher, my mind still holds the teaching profession in high regard, almost to perfection. That perception fuels my identity as a teacher. Being older also helps me temper that perfect image.
My identity as a teacher is shaped by who I am now and who I was, unlike Yerks, I don’t feel the need to get rid of the old Pam to become Mrs. Milos. I think my past has shaped me into who I am today, and those experiences help me to understand certain situations better than some. The collision of my past with the new ideas I learned in ECS 110 and expanded that knowledge in this class, has also given me a greater sense of what it means to be anti-oppressive. If I ditched the old me, I wouldn’t have a reference to how far I have come, that journey is very important for me to reflect on and to see as I embark on my teaching career. That recognition will help me to give myself grace, when I inevitably mess something up. I will be able to see my mistakes as a learning experience, and to do better next time. My past has also given me my life experience, and I will be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that new teachers fall in to. My age is not fool proof against mistakes and I will make rookie mistakes too. However, I can’t let my past get in the way of evolving my identity as a teacher.
My past has shaped my thoughts and actions and helped to propel me forward. Without acknowledging my past, I don’t think, I would able to embrace anti-bias education. I find myself with each passing class, developing a passion for being the best anti-bias teacher I can be. To get rid of the old Pam, to become the teacher, robs my students of the knowledge I have gained. Now all this doesn’t mean, I live in the past. It means I take that experience, analyze it with what I did know, with what I have now learned, usually for the better and proceed in more enlightened way. I feel using the past, to apply to the present, gives me a well-rounded identity, that will allow me to continue to evolve and adapt to the future as well.
I think we need to embrace who we were, who we are, and who we will be. Everything we have learned and did to this point in our journeys to be teachers has shaped us in some way. Lessons learned are applicable in our class rooms. Use who you are to move forward, because I feel we can’t separate our identities into neat little compartments, nor should we. Me being a mom shapes so many parts of my life and interactions, I can’t separate that out, neither can I separate the teacher side of me out when I am with my family, nor should I. Sometimes the different identities work in conflict with each other, but that conflict makes us stronger, wiser and able to handle so much more.
Some food for thought? How does your current identity work with being a teacher, what lessons can you bring to teaching?