For the past year or two, I’ve been conscious that I’m not loving teaching the way I used to. That doesn’t mean it's going to stay that way. It doesn’t mean I won’t bounce back. But it's a long enough period of time to know that it’s more than just one bad lesson, more than just a challenging student, more than just one difficult parent.
One thing this pandemic has given me is time to think. Plenty of time to think. Recently I caught up with another Kiwi teacher in London who commented about how she thought she’d “find herself” through travelling across Europe, meeting new people, exploring new places and such. But actually this has been a year of being stuck inside four walls with nothing more to do than sit, and think, and find herself.
Funny how these things work.
A month ago, I watched a series of videos by Brandon Lucero, creator of the Video 4x Effect. At first I thought his videos were way too cheesy and almost stopped watching until his message started to catch on. Since last year, I’d been immersing myself in website work, blog writing, free online courses, webinars, going down rabbit holes of articles and creating my own downloadable teaching resources. But where was I going with all this? Could I turn this into something really useful for others?
“What is your message?”
What was my message?
To figure this out, Brandon explained that we need to start with our own identity and beliefs. What are the values that you hold closest? How do you live these out in your day to day life? If we hold our values at the forefront in everything we do and create, we’re working from a place of authenticity.
Next, he said to ask yourself what you want to change inside your industry or even society. What causes your audience to struggle because they think “This is the way it’s supposed to be”? How can you create a shift in perspective and find a solution that people need?
What can you do? Take a stand for what you believe in. Create the change that you want to see and give your audience something to believe in too. Create your own unique solution that’s rooted in your values and reflects your message.
There was a lot to digest from what Brandon shared. I went for a walk. I was inspired.
I’d spent a lot of time thinking about how I could help teachers. My solution had been to create free teaching resources. But that’s just doing the same thing as everyone else. I’d always heard that you’re supposed to make what other people want you to make. Instead, Brandon had given me permission to start with what I wanted to do. What message did I want to put out there into the teaching world?
When I got home, my words just fell out onto the paper.
What did I love about teaching? What got me out of bed at 5am morning after morning without fail? Why did I go that extra mile to plan that Businesses unit for my Year 2s? Why did I give up my school holidays to plan a school production? I needed to figure out what had worked for me and what I wanted for other teachers.
So, my message?
I want to be
a PURPOSEFUL teacher
who is IN CONTROL
and know that they’ve DONE ENOUGH
...and have other teachers feel the same
Now, how can I make this happen? Well, I have a few actionable things I know I can do now and a few things that might have to wait until further down the road.
I’m still a long way away from creating the next best thing that revolutionises teaching and changes teachers’ lives for the better. But it can’t hurt to do what I can right now to make even a small difference.
Some of my actions will stay the same - write a blog post, create a resource - which isn’t a new idea in itself, but what is exciting is the feeling that there’s purpose behind what I’m doing. I have my short-term plan so I feel in control. I’m inspired by the idea of creating something unique - whatever that morphs into. And, I’ve realised that when I feel all of these things, I know that I have done enough.
2023 Update: See how I've built these ideas into my attheminute teaching mission here!