I always used to enjoy Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story” segments on radio. They were so well crafted to keep you to the very end where there always was an interesting twist or turn or personality revealed. I’ve never seen anyone do this before or since as well as Mr. Harvey could.
Well, until this week.
Elizabeth Lyons had written a blog post titled “Education as Identity“. I found it difficult to read; first of all as I’ve commented before she centre justifies everything which breaks every personal reading strategy that I have. Secondly, it was the type of post that every teacher should be able to write but so few are brave enough to do so.
It generated much activity on social media with people who read and reacted to her words. It was a powerful post that generated various personal levels of comments and understanding of her message. It’s what every blogger loves to see.
She started by making a reference to an OnEd Mentors show on which I appeared with three other retired teachers. Noa Daniel had led the discussion about preparing for retirement and life post-retirement. We were all over the place with the discussion which just reinforces the notion that no two teachers are the same which is a bit bizarre when you think that we all had the same working conditions, tools, etc.
And yet, one of the conclusions from the show was that once you’re a teacher, you’re always a teacher. I’m kind of proud of that. I get that all the time when I correct my own kids over incorrect use of the English language “Dad, you’re such a teacher”. At my son’s wedding reception, I got to speak first in the after-dinner speeches and got a nice, yet interesting comment from him under his breath as I concluded.
At one point, Elizabeth had been challenged by Chris Cluff
“If teaching wasn’t part of your identity, what would be?”
It’s a very poignant question and something that would be useful for any teacher to answer. It’s also the type of question that you shouldn’t just answer once. Your thoughts may evolve over your career. It speaks to your decision to enter the profession and what keeps you going. This was another part of the difficulty I have with reading Elizabeth’s post; I’ve gone through it so many times and I still don’t know how I would answer that question. Damn that Chris.
As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to spend part of the afternoon with Elizabeth and her family yesterday. I’d been threatening to have her take me to the Bayside Brewing Company in Erieau for a while now and we made it happen.
I’ve been there before and there’s always been a huge lineup to get in but the sweet spot seems to be 3:30 on a Monday afternoon. We had the entire deck to ourselves. We did talk about her post and she went deeper into her educational decision and what she thinks of herself as a teacher. I enjoyed the conversation; not everyone would be that open and honest about their vision.
If you’re passionate about your profession, your thoughts run deep. I realized by listening that this was indeed a special person who had thought deeply about things. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. COVID, of course, factored into her thinking. I think that we all realize that we’ve all been profoundly affected and changed by the past couple of years. So many jobs have returned to a variation of what “normal” might be.
Education hasn’t. As well it shouldn’t. COVID has reinforced to anyone paying attention that Education takes on the sum of everything in society. Add all the risks and it’s unlike any other profession. So many things have just been exaggerated as a result.
It was overlooking the beautiful Rondeau Bay that she went deeper into her post and I have a better understanding of what she was getting at. For that, I am so grateful.
And now I know the rest of the story.