Last year, I posted about my family’s tradition to pick one word for the new year. My word was “perspective” and it basically started out as a call to stop procrastinating at work (which worked a little, maybe). What really happened, though, was much better. My entire perspective on teaching kind of changed last year. Well, it didn’t so much change as I stopped pretending that it was something it is not. I have a tendency to let things slide and to try not to cause waves (9, anyone?). I know what I believe in my heart and if you don’t agree with me, I move on and generally remember not to talk to you about that thing anymore because, obviously, you’re welcome to have your opinion, even if it’s wrong. This got me through teaching among people with different philosophies than my own pretty well for the first couple years, but I think it was contributing to me feeling not-quite-myself. Then in the last year, things started happening that I couldn’t push aside anymore (many of which I tried to write about, but didn’t publish because I was really angry), and I decided I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by allowing people to think I didn’t (or didn’t care enough to) disagree with them. (Hopefully, some of those things will come out this year if I can find a diplomatic-enough way to get them out in writing.)
Additionally, I’ve been thinking a lot more about what it would look like for a school or teaching position to better match my personality. It’s been hard finding the freedom I inherently crave teaching one of the courses that controls “the list” at a school with historically low test scores. The administrative burden (read: paperwork, etc.) in such a position is pretty high as well (or maybe this is every school?). Anyway, it takes a lot of energy for me on a daily basis to get all (or to be more honest, some) of these things done. So this year, I’ve decided to use the word “creating.”
Something about forcing myself to be a Type A during the work week drains all of my energy for creativity. The last time my tasks burden was anywhere near this high, I was in college and had outlets like sculpture classes, recording studios, and open mic nights to keep me balanced. I chose to be creating this year because I think I’m a healthier person when I’m being creative, and I’ve been missing that part of myself as I’ve poured more energy into the left side of my brain over the last few years.
As with last year, even in the first month, I’ve already noticed the word “creating” taking on a different meaning than the one I assigned to it in late December, and as I’ve been exploring what kinds of changes would make teaching a better fit for me, I have already started creating some new opportunities for myself and my students.
I’m excited to see where this year goes.