I do a lot of thinking about teaching and teachers. You know because I write about it a lot. This is the first year that I ever have really considered NOT teaching. This is scary for me. I have been a teacher or teacher in training since I was 18. I was going to change the world one 15 year old at a time. I was going to win all the teacher of the year awards and I was going to WIN AT LIFE. Now. Now I am trying to figure out if this is a phase, if I am winning at life, or if I am being called elsewhere. Writing about how my identity is linked to the place of my classroom is helping me sort it out, also it give me ALL THE FEELS.
Teaching is one of the only professions where no one uses a first name, at least at any school I’ve ever worked at. Generally, the adults in my building even refer to each other as Mr. or Ms., for continuity’s sake, which means most of the kids don’t even know our first names.
Very occasionally, a student will see me in public and call out my name. I know before I see who is shouting that they are my student. Just hearing someone shout “Hey, Ms. Norman” puts me immediately into teacher mode, even in the middle of the grocery store.
I like Ms. Norman. I like my classroom and I like who I am in it. I have carefully curated the furniture (spray painted funky colors) and the posters (MLK, Mother Theresa, Ghandi), just as I have carefully curated the persona that is Ms. Norman. In fact, sometimes I wish Abby could be a little more like her.