So. . . wow. Yes, it has been such an extremely long time since I've updated my website. In some ways, that was a conscious choice. As I mentioned not long before I went all silent around here, in 2012, I made the decision to go back to school to become a teacher. I applied to, and made into, a very demanding but excellent graduate program that works to truly prepare its teacher candidates for the challenges teachers face in urban schools. Part of that preparation was looking at our own identities and what it means for me as an educated white woman with working class roots to be teaching in a Chicago classroom. I found that constantly analyzing my teacher identity meant that I had to push my writer identity to the side for a while. This was not easy to do. Writing is such an integral part of me that before starting my teacher training program (or "teacher school" as my third graders like to call it), when asked who I am, I would always immediately respond that I am a writer. It was the beginning, middle, and end of my identity in a lot of ways. But no one is just one thing and I needed to face the aspects of my identity and figure out what it means to be a woman or white or straight, etc, etc, etc, the privileges and challenges that come with each label, so that I can be real with my students, so that I can build trust with them and let them know who I really am and where I come from, so they in turn can let me know who they really are. Yes, being a writer is such an important part of who I am, but so is being a teacher. I have been comfortable in my writer identity my whole life, so it was an easy place to retreat to and that is why I needed to set it aside for a time, so I could get comfortable in other aspects of myself.
But lately, the writer has become restless. I've neglected that part of myself for too long and it has become time to merge the two and become not just a writer and not just a teacher but a Writer/Teacher. My identity reflections are far from over as figuring out who I am and what that means will be (and should be) a lifelong journey. But I am comfortable slipping my writer identity back on now because I see all the others I wear along with it and I see how those identities shape not just how I teach, but also how I write.
Last night, I attended a job fair put on by my school. We are just about three months away from finishing our program and we are turning our attention toward where we will be working as full-fledged teachers this fall. I spoke with several schools that I was interested in and had positions I could see myself potentially filling. But there was one school in particular who was not just interested in who I was as a teacher, but also as a writer. As I was talking about how my writer identity fit with my teacher identity, I felt something click. I was so excited about the prospect of teaching writing and literature to middle schoolers. I could hear that little voice inside saying, "Yessssssssssss. . . this is who I am." Without writing, I don't feel complete. It feels good to be back.
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