Always a teacher: why identity at work is more important than you think

Like it or not, it’s the second question exchanged when meeting new people socially.

It is right up there after asking someone their name.

Who we are at work is often closely associated with our actual identity, which can be particularly problematic if you have a vocational career.

There is something special about saying you are a teacher.

It comes with instant perceptions in someone else’s mind – a teacher has a degree of status in people’s minds and a value to society.

But what happens when you leave the teaching profession?

For those considering “stepping away” it can be especially challenging when it comes to losing that sense of identity.

Teaching may have been part of who you are for many years.

It could be all you have known.

And so it is almost impossible to “see” yourself in another profession, even if you want to leave.

How can you get a change of career if YOU cannot see beyond the teacher?

Well first, stop fighting it.

Once you are a teacher, you’ll always have teacher status – you are a qualified teacher.

The “calling” to the vocation may have changed but you’ve already dedicated however many years to being in the classroom educating. You are a teacher.

Yet this does not mean that you must remain in the classroom if it’s your time to move on. But you do need to re-frame your points of identity.

This is important. If you can reshape your story, others will see you in a different way, too.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • I am a teacher who now works in….
  • Former or ex teacher (or retired teacher)
  • Educationalist
  • Freelance teacher
  • Self-employed teacher
  • Coach
  • Consultant teacher
  • Education specialist
  • Freacher (free teacher)
  • Career changer

There are many ways you can answer that question, “What do you do for a living?”

You can answer any way you like.

If the “teacher” title and identity is still important to you but you want to move on, re-frame and still use it.

But be sure that you discover your new identity – because only then can you truly move forward on a new path.

Need help finding your right path?

Message me on the above link


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