Monday, June 7, 2010

"I teach high school"

In just over two weeks, I won't be able to say that anymore.

For the past 3-ish years, those four words have been a huge part of my identity. Countless hours of small talk at evite parties, ward functions and chatting with new folks in my parents' ward has been consumed by me explaining what I do, where I do it and why. But being a "Teacher" isn't just a talking point. I am constantly in teacher mode - how can I teach this principle? How can I model appropriate behavior? I can't shut up when I'm with friends at Arlington Cemetery or about 3 dozen other sites in and around DC. And not 30 seconds ago I corrected a friend's spelling (though in my defense, she asked). I am a teacher.

So what happens when the label "Teacher" has been removed? Don't get me wrong, I'm not rethinking my decision to quit and go back to school this fall. I'm just searching for a way to re-identify myself, to explain why after only 3 years in the profession I'm leaving it for something else. Am I a "former teacher"? I feel too young to be a former anything. Am I just someone who needed the "inner city experience" for a few years to feel good about myself? Am I giving up too early? I don't want to be any of those things.

On one hand, I will always be a teacher. It has become a part of me. I apologize in advance to those of you who hang out with me at a museum or another particularly teacher-y location. I will continue to explain the history behind whatever monument / event / person we are visiting - I just can't help that.

And clearly, there are other things that define me. I am a daughter of God with limitless divine potential. I am a Chamberlain, the oldest daughter of wonderful parents who have set a high bar for their children. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm an Idaho girl trying to make it in the big city. I will shortly become a student again and that just thrills me. I'm a daughter and a sister and a friend and I love each role that I play. But I think that despite how frustrated I am currently with my job, I'm going to miss the role of teacher a whole lot.


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