So, you're an online teacher now…
Has this statement been messing with your head? Did the transition from "classroom guru" to "online who" give you whiplash? If lately, you've been wondering who you are, you're not alone. When you meet someone new and introduce yourself, what do you say? Many times, we lead with our profession, and that gives us a sense of stability. But is that what we should do? Are we most importantly a teacher, a mother, a father, a Ph.D., or is there something else we could say that is better for our well-being?
What will happen when you retire? Hi, I'm (insert name here), I'm a retired teacher. In the book, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Michael Singer explores our source of self and who we believe we are. In a word, he defines the self as consciousness. But since most of us aren't best buddies with Deepak Chopra or have spent time in a Tibetan monastery, lets paddle back from the deep into the shallows just a bit.
Maybe when you introduce yourself, you lead with your belief system, I'm a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew. That is a description of your faith and may explain some of your actions, but not all of them. The Center for American Progress stated that your zip code is the number one predictor of your success in achieving the American Dream. Public health scholars say your zip code is more relevant to your health than your genetics. So, are we where we live? We can all think of examples of people that grew up in less than ideal circumstances and achieved greatness. They didn't let the environment define them.
So how do you define you? Maybe instead of saying, I am my consciousness (and blow everyone's mind); we can use mindset to identify us. According to Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck having a growth mindset can get you past any hurdle. A growth mindset is a continuous learning process. An example could be someone that is facing challenges and continues to pursue the goal despite the difficulty and effort required. Those with a growth mindset have higher levels of achievement because they learn from criticism and are motivated by others' success.
Right now, say to yourself, "I'm a continuous learner." How did that make you feel? What thoughts bubble up? Did you get a glimmer of self-compassion and feel a bit kinder to yourself? Feel free to leave comments below.
My childhood home in the city of Pittsburgh. The arrow points to my bedroom window where I watched the world go by.