Monday, February 3, 2014

Teacher Leadership Challenge | January 27, 2014

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This multipart series is intended to help teachers grow their leadership practice and ignite conversations about education online, through blogging, and in person.
The goal of a teacher leader is to improve the learning of all students through their efforts, collaboration, and influence. The 2014 Teacher Leadership Challenge is a weekly installment activity that poses a prompt on an educational topic or issue. Your challenge is to respond to the prompt in 500 words or less via a post you publish to your blog. The aim is to get more teachers thinking globally about their classroom practice and their own connection to the wider education community. You can subscribe to this blog to get the weekly challenge sent automatically by email.
You can share your post to Twitter using #TLC2014 and spark conversation with educators. In addition to posting on your own blog, you can elect to include your post in the weekly collection showcase blog. To do this, simply email your completed response post to the showcase, at Make sure that you include the title of your post with the week of the prompt for proper tagging (e.g., "My Post Title | September 6, 2013") in the subject line (without "re:") of your email, and the full post laid out in paragraphs in the body of the email. Posts are automatically published by sending the email. You can embed images and URLs into the body of your email, and the post will publish while maintaining your formatting and layout. Check out others' responses in the response collection or on Google+ each week, leave them your comments, and get the conversation rolling ahead for teacher leadership.

This Week's Challenge:

How do you maintain a balance between your personal and professional identities?

Photo Sep 14, 9 09 28 AMIt’s 10:30am on a Monday morning. Where are you? With whom are you spending your time? What are you doing? What is happening where you are? How does your response compare when it’s 6:45pm on Sunday evening?
As adults in the workforce, we share our time between home and our career, among other aspects of our life. Teachers are no exception. They spend their mornings and afternoons typically working directly with students. Their evenings and weekends might be spent elsewhere and with other individuals, but when it comes down to it we all have multiple identities, including personal and professional.
Teachers have families, just like everyone does, and they also may have additional personal areas of interest or pastime. This is complemented by their work with students, participation in professional learning and other career involvement. Although the typical school day has a clock time duration that begins early morning and ends in the middle of the afternoon, many teachers experience overflow from their professional life into their personal life. The investment into personal and professional areas of our lives might not always be equal, and this can cause the areas of our lives to conflict with one another and blur our identities.
Whether that be preparing lessons for the upcoming school days, troubleshooting issues facing particular students, or engaging in continuing education themselves, teachers are professionals who often take their work home with them. While teaching is not the only profession in which this occurs, it can still cause challenges in balancing attention to personal and professional identity.
In what ways can teachers maintain a fulfilling career and yet still pour into their family and personal life? What considerations are there for developing and advancing both your personal and professional life?
Teachers can wear many “hats” both at work and at home. They might be instructors, department leaders, or committee members at work, but beyond the school day they might coach, have children, or be involved in their community. How can teachers attend to all that is going on even handedly enough to due justice to both a personal and professional identity?
What approaches help you to become a better instructor, a better parent, a better spouse, a better citizen, or a better person? How do you develop in multiple areas without focusing too much energy into the development of one area of your life? Is it possible to avoid neglecting one identity to attend to the other? Does a professional life have to be separated or distinct from a personal life? Does balancing between your identities mean that opportunities will be missed, or can it all be done well?
Maintaining life balance and developing your personal along with professional identity are keys to being an effective person, but how might we accomplish it in the teaching field?
Image Credit: Gary G. Abud, Jr.