Because It’s Simply Not About Me.

The first thing I notice is her little mouth, open toward me, with her eyes still squeezed tight with the remnants of sleep. Even in the dark room, I can still see. Her little body rocks, having grown stronger with the ability to turn over, eagerly awaiting la leche. Every morning, somewhere between 2 and 4 am, this is our ritual. She begins to stir, just slightly, so I know she needs to be fed. And although I haven’t slept for more than two consecutive hours in 5 months, I cherish these moments. I look forward to these quiet times, just the two of us, as the world outside our window continues to slumber.

I’m tired all the time. I have the worst memory ever. But my life has never been richer, my emotions never deeper, and my hopes never stronger and more vulnerable since having my daughter.

In many ways, this is also how I feel as a teacher; hopeful and seeing life in new ways with each child I interact with, and eager to continue, despite the bottomless exhaustion. And I wouldn’t be the teacher I am if I weren’t connected, through blogging, to other educators; educators from as close as NJ and as far as Europe, whom I have come to admire. Blogging has changed my world because of the people I have come to know; people who have taught me ways to be better in my craft, but also ways to recognize when what I’m doing is worthy of repeating and writing about.

Although I have been blogging for years, I began my first teacher blog the moment I joined the profession. I was leaving a treasured profession behind, as well as a decade of work as a too passionate “serve the people” activist, and I thought there was nothing more valuable I could do if I wasn’t protesting or organizing people to act in the interest of humanity. I was entering teaching hoping it would fill that void for me. It was about me, and blogging was my way of making sense of it all, and it was the blogging community of educators who gave me a sense of belonging to something much bigger than myself, and made me see that teaching and being a good teacher was meaningful, and ultimately not about me.

I was able to see beyond myself, beyond my school’s walls and place this new “job” of educating children into a much bigger, more complex and vivd picture. Since I came to teaching via a nontraditional route, it made sense that my “education” was nontraditional too. I learned from you: readers and edubloggers the world over.

It is luck, really, that led me into teaching, with the low percentage of people who make it into the NYCTF, and it was luck that got me my job when other principals didn’t seem willing to take a chance on a career-changing journalist who wanted to teach ESL. But it was blogging, and not luck, that led me to value what it means to teach children, what it means to be part of a union of professionals, and to be in the oldest and often least respected jobs.

It is too easy to lose sight of our importance in this world, and lose ourselves in the vast needs we see in front of us, without each other. Blogging has changed my world by both making it bigger and bringing it in closer. In those wee morning hours, when I lay my daughter back down to sleep and get dressed in total darkness, I know I am getting ready to do something important. I don’t feel part of a daily grind, even while some would like us to just be abiding cogs in a wheel.

As a teacher, and now as a mother, I am inspired knowing that my life simply isn’t about me anymore. It’s about the faces I see in front of me, whether it be at 3am, or 8am, and it’s about the world they so desperately need to understand so that, one day, they can indeed change it.

This post was inspired by Matt Ray and the Rockstar Meme— how blogging rocked your world. Now I’d love to hear from: @used2bprincipal, a former principal whose opinion I value greatly and who taught me self-respect as a teacher, jd2718, a teacher blogger who influences and inspires me, @naomishema, a blogger I like to read, @KKSorrell, who I have interacted with ao my laflecha blog, and who I enjoy reading, and Mike Harrison, an EFL teacher across the pond who helped make Twitter a welcoming place for newbies like me, and helped me realize my colleagues span the globe 🙂

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One thought on “Because It’s Simply Not About Me.

  1. I loved your description of watching your infant daughter wake with hunger. Your writing is so vivid and brought the scene so clearly that I could smell the baby powder. My daughter is 16 now, and this is the first thing I think I’ve ever read that made me miss HER at that age. Thank you, it was lovely.

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