When we fall, we rest, reflect, restore and RISE again and again. We never rely upon one product, one client, one country, one industry, one asset class, or one way of thinking. Ever. Who are “we?” You and Me.
As educators, particularly female educators, we take on and in a lot. In many instances, we do so unconsciously, willingly, and in spite of all the warning signs that say this is more than an unhealthy comma moment. We need a full stop.
For many, teaching is a call to action and a sacred trust. It resounds deep within our panoramic core. We breathe teaching and giving and continue answering the adjuration in our minds. Critical to this call is knowing when our souls need a respite from the bureaucratic nonsense, stress and demands. Greater awareness of who and where we are, and time to reevaluate why we are doing what we are doing, and for whom, all, are paramount to robust mental health. This is especially true when all around us there are warning signs that say STOP. LEAVE. NOW.
As teachers, administrators and academic village supporters (that means partners in education), we give constantly, 24-7-365. We need not apologize or criticize ourselves for steadily walking a path until it turns anomalous. When the cognitive dissonance we feel is real, it is more than okay for us to authoritatively look inside, listen, and make time to take great care of ourselves.
If you are familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy, a classification of higher-order thinking and mastery teaching credited to Benjamin Samuel Bloom, an American educational psychologist, and revised by his student Lorin Anderson, then you know the three (3) highest orders of thinking in the pyramid are creating, evaluating and analyzing. At the base of the pyramid are remembering and understanding.
As educators, it is critical that we create growth, healing and financial opportunities outside of the educational arena. It is imperative that we diversify our academic asset portfolios so we are not dependent upon one (1) asset class. In order to do this, we must understand where we are emotionally and physically, and start moving.
Unfortunately, I have known teachers who’ve endured imprudent polemics, teachers who went on holiday and received word not to return as the school was closing, or their position abruptly eliminated. Devastation? It depends upon the educator’s ability to: truthfully comprehend where they are, what their purpose is if they have clear and attainable goals
Please remember, only those educational entities that deserve you, get you. Or should get you.
There comes a time in all of our lives when we must make a moment to reevaluate what nurtures our souls – not just our outward career goals. We may be progressing mightily by all outward appearances, but if we are dying inside, this is not progress. If the sacrifices of time and mind away from family are too great, this is not progress. If we must earn within an environment of toxicity and unyielding disrespect, progress is an anhydrous well. It is an illusion. It is deleterious.
To all educators new and seasoned, I urge you to define yourself outside of your title, degrees and paycheck. I urge you to frequently check your soul’s I.Q. I implore you to diversify your earning portfolio and if you so choose, move to a place where the money is working harder for you as opposed to al revés.
When trying to decide if our chosen professional environment is healthy, the questions we may want to ask are: Am I able to teach the way I love to teach 90% of the time? Do I have balance in my life? Is the educational profession loving me back or suffocating my soul? What is the return on investment R.O.I? Does the educational institution contribute to retirement savings? Am I beginning or continuing my career with the end in mind? Am I putting more into my students than I am putting into myself and my family? Have I used the lessons learned from teaching, academic rigour, and educational investments to comfortably care for myself and my family in the present and future? Do I have other options available? If we are working within an environment of massive uncertainty, disrespect or toxicity, is spending another day of our precious lives in this environment worth it?
How you choose to answer these questions is truly personal. What may be helpful is reading this query posed by Ilyanla Vanzant, noted global life coach who asks, “What is it that would make a creature as fierce, majestic and powerful as a LION is, subject itself to the intimidation of a man, a whip and a chair? The LION has been taught to forget [who and] what it is.”
Healing begins with taking responsibility for our choices—and our lives. Working with juveniles does not mean we should make juvenile choices about our lives. Are we on a spending spinning wheel that forces us to endure toxicity? Asking ourselves critical questions helps, but our instincts—our internal voices have always had the answers. I beseech you to never forget who, whose and what you are. Please make healing a priority and keep in mind, no needs; no leverage.
By: Lisa Fatimah