Our Relevance as Teachers

This month's article is questioning whether we lose our relevance as a teacher when we teach less, change positions, or leave the classroom altogether. Are we, as teachers, only relevant if we have a class of students to call our own?

It can feel that way, but it isn't true.

The job title "teacher" becomes intertwined with our identity; it becomes a symbol to others that our dream is to change lives for the better. We are proud of our passion and our mission. Teaching offers us a significant purpose each day and we proudly say, "I am a teacher" like it is a badge of honour.

And for us, it is.

This is why leaving the classroom can be a difficult transition. Teachers begin doubting their relevance in the teaching community only months after officially leaving the classroom. We feel out of place because we do not have a full teaching workload, we are without a classroom full of resources, and we are no longer scheduling our day between bell times.

It is important to remember, our experiences continue to be relevant, no matter how long we have been out of the classroom.

Our skills are transferable.

Our resources are helpful.

Our journey still matters.

Life as a full-time teacher runs like clockwork with task after task until the final school bell rings and we wave our students goodbye. We have a clearly defined and driving purpose from the moment we wake until the moment that we fall asleep. There is a soothing routine to each term, and yet, no matter our planning, something will inevitably change each day to make it unique. The music is always the same but the dance is spontaneous and therefore, different.

For any teacher who is searching for directions or reassurance, I'll say this.

You are a real teacher, whether you are: 

  • Relief teaching at one or more schools
  • Part-time teaching one or more days
  • A teacher on maternity leave
  • A retired teacher
  • A specialist teacher
  • A travelling teacher
  • A teacher in leadership

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