A Sum of Sacrifices

by | Nov 16, 2020

A Sum of Sacrifices

Walk into any classroom right now – virtual on face-to-face and you will see teachers pushing. They are giving their all and have, in ways unseen, become a sum of sacrifices.

All of us, everywhere, are adapting.

We’re all doing what needs to be done to keep this ball rolling. The motivating factor remains what it has always been, the students.

But this pushing and pushing, changing and adapting, is taking a toll on educators worldwide.

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Expectation and Obligations Sum of Sacrifices

While society commends the teacher, who leaves it all on the table, who goes the extra mile, we rarely are willing to take a look behind the curtain at how this impacts the teacher over time.

The expectations set forth by society, social media, teacher training, our experiences, and ourselves lay the groundwork for martyrdom.

Teachers, through kindness, expectation, and obligation are literally giving until it hurts – hurts their happiness, their physical and mental health, and their sustainability within their careers.

And, it is when this level of giving cumulates that teachers begin to become a sum of sacrifices.

The Teacher Identity

The teacher identity of the martyr with a heart of gold is noble, true, but is it sustainable?

By taking a long, hard look at our expectations of ourselves as educators and of teaching as a profession, we can begin to peel back the layers that have accumulated as the sum of sacrifice.

We need to ask ourselves hard questions

  • When is it okay to say ‘no’?
  • How much is too much?
  • Where are my boundaries?
  • What is my breaking point?

Teaching CAN be a sustainable career.

I am a proponent of teachers giving, but not to the point of pain or sacrifice. I am proud to be in a career where we are known for caring. But, I know there is a balance because I had to find it for my own well-being, and I want to help you find it as well.

It boils down to a re-examination of the teacher identity and what we can realistically expect from ourselves within this challenging and amazing, difficult and rewarding, complex profession we call teaching.


Want to explore this idea more – check out this article from Joy in Teaching

and for more actionable ideas to help sustain a positive career in teaching check out the Joy in Teaching books.

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