2020

It is enough.

This year has been hard.

Not only have my husband and I been in a holding pattern, but I’ve also been struggling to find my place and my own direction. I’m constantly plagued by questions. Where are we headed? What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? How do I want to make an impact on the world? How can I affect the future?

And, the most damaging of all… Is it enough?

As educators, we watch the career trajectories of those around us. The expectations are endless, from going back to get your Master’s, to transitioning into a position outside of the classroom, to working your way up the ladder into administration. It seems that the focus is consistently on upward mobility, on what’s next, and on how we are going to get there.

The expectations set for me have been clear since the beginning. Most people are being kind when they say things like, “Oh you’re going to do big things one day” or “When are you going to move up to a leadership position?” I know those comments are all meant in the nicest way and said with the most loving tone.

But I’ve been struggling. Because how do I combine my desire to teach with the expectations other people have?

If I stay in the classroom, bringing my heart and soul into what I do, will it be enough?

The feelings of inadequacy are not unique to me, and I’m confident that they are not mine alone. Knowing that has been comforting, but has not yet led me to a solution or an answer. I’ve continued to struggle with the idea of meeting or exceeding the expectations of others, and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time planning for a huge, flashy future that I’m not even sure I want.

Because the truth is, I absolutely love what I do.

Being in my classroom every single day is exactly where I want to be. Providing an education for students that expands their literacy skills and helps them become better humans is exactly what I want to be doing.

I cannot imagine myself outside of my classroom. I cannot imagine myself not working with students. I don’t see it.

And that’s got to be okay.

I believe in education. That’s why I became an educator. I firmly believe that, in my classroom, I am affecting change in the world. I believe that my impact is meaningful, important, and lasting. It may not be big or flashy or seen as ‘important’, but it matters. I know it does. Because I can see it every day.

I wrote once about considering teachers professionals, and I was challenged by another educator. They asserted that the view of our professionalism must begin with us, the educators.

At the time, I was in disbelief. Of course we view ourselves as professionals, I thought. Why would we discount our own importance?

But we do. We do it all the time when we assume every educator must take the next step, must move up, must leave the classroom for something bigger, something more.

Our world needs to shift our focus away from the norm of upward mobility and towards value. Value for all roles in education, whether they be expansive or intimate. We must begin to see all educators as meaningful, and view what they do as impactful.

Because all of it is.

Whether you make decisions for an entire state or a classroom of students, it matters. If your responsibility is to 2,000 educators or 20 students, it is an important one. Whether your role is educating teachers or educating students, you are an educator.

And that will always be enough.

5 thoughts on “It is enough.

  1. This is one of the best and most heartfelt essays that I have ever had the pleasure to read. I am so happy and proud that you know you’re worth and you embrace your importance! You truly are shaping the next generations to love reading and writing using their imaginations! Well done Katelynn!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You got it! It makes my heart happy to hear how much you love being in the classroom! I’ve gone through the same struggles. I have so many different things pulling me in different directions and it all boils down to listening to our hearts- not the other things. Where do our hearts want to be?
    Thank for your writing about this and for sharing so vulnerably. Your sixth graders are lucky to have you! You are doing big things. You are a shining star. 🌟

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t see it.
    I don’t feel it.
    I don’t see it the way you do. “…the focus is consistently on upward mobility…”
    I DO see what you’re saying in that you feel you belong in the classroom. I’ve seen some great educators who give their all, every day, IN the classroom, until they retire. Those teachers will live long in children’s hearts.
    Do what you love, and your heart will be satisfied.
    If you stay, you stay. If you move on, you move on. Please do what’s in your heart, or it will definitely NOT be enough. You, loving children, is enough.
    xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, it sounds like you are exactly where you need to be and it is definitely enough.. and so wonderful for the students you will be there for. You have the heart of an educator, and that is what we need in the classrooms.
    I got my admin degree because ‘I didn’t want to miss an opportunity if it came up’ (that’s what I told myself). I love the classroom and being a positive force in my students’ lives. I also loved training teachers so an opportunity came up and I became a ‘teacher on special assignment’, mentoring new teachers at my district. This was great, because I still got into classrooms and worked with some amazing teachers. Then a district-level admin opening came available and I went for it… I thought it was what I wanted, I thought I could ‘touch’ and affect more teachers and therefore have an impact on more students. Long story short… after 9 years in that job I found it unbearable… many days went by and I couldn’t find something I did that was for the kids, it became state mandates, paperwork… yes there were some good things with technology and curriculum that I supported, but they become few and far between– and 60+ hours a week drained my head and heart. Flash to today- after many days of reflecting I have left that job, and am now a regional edtech coach in two districts- working with teachers, supporting them and coteaching with them! I love it — it is where I need to be.
    I would say that yes you are enough no matter what you decide to do, but also never allow yourself to get stuck in a job where you are not happy. Money, title… none of that really matters if what you do doesn’t matter to you or anyone else. Be bold and make changes as you need to! You are never too old to admit that a change is needed– and it doesn’t mean you failed, it means you ‘saw the light’ and moved toward it…
    Be well and make your way! Yes you are enough and are doing great things!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with you, Katelynn. I sense the subtle pressure to move up the ranks of teaching too – especially if you’re a teacher who isn’t satisfied with the status quo and are pushing yourself to be better. I think then people just naturally assume that you are looking to move up. It’s a bummer because we should want to get better and be better for our kids not because we want to be administrators. I think perhaps influencing 20 students deeply may have greater impact than influencing 2,000 from afar. I hope you find peace in the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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