Teaching: Have you found your life’s work?

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. – Steve Jobs

I love teaching. I love education. I live it, I think it, I dream it, I breathe it. It consumes me. It dominates my conversations, and I will devour anything I can about it. I will do all of this, and I will not apologise for it. For what you may think is just my ‘job’, is not, it is my life’s work.

Your life’s work can be described as the ‘job’ that does not feel like a job, it is more of a way of living. I don’t think I have always felt like that about the work that I do. As I continue down my path and the more involved I get in my projects and commitments, the more I know that being an educator means far more to me than just the ‘work’ I get paid to do. It is almost like I have this innate need to have education in my life, it feels like something more than a passion, I find it difficult to describe, but one thing I do know is that it just keeps growing, and I can’t get enough.

I often get asked what I do in my ‘spare time’, if I ever stop ‘working’ and what I do besides ‘work’. I have a lot of side projects that I am involved in, different committees, establishing a non-profit organisation, connections to many different things, but at the end of the day, each and every single one of them has education running through their core.

An important element of what can be described as ‘your life’s work’ is that it shouldn’t feel like work, of course, you should still have the ability to live a full, happy and enjoyable life. However, work and play are often intertwined. I have been a teacher for only a relatively short amount of time, coming up to seven years this October and I am just as enthralled in what I do, how I do it and why I do it, now as I was like a new university student, maybe even more so. My ‘personal’ and ‘work’ lives are no longer separate, some of my closest friends are those who I have found through educational networking and social media.

Through my journey I have come to believe that to be a truly effective teacher in this fast paced, knowledge-based society, one must think of themselves as a knowledge worker. That is how we can have a real impact on education and the future of teaching and learning. Research indicates that ‘knowledge workers’ are people who think for a living, whose main role surrounds developing and using knowledge. They are highly motivated, possess factual and theoretical knowledge, find and access information effectively, curate and organise information. They continue innovation and change. In today’s world, educators need to think beyond traditional education paradigms, my belief in this is a driving factor in what I perceive to be my life’s work.

I know I have found my life’s work because I never want to stop sharing, this need further ignites and sparks my continued interest. My family and friends know that it is what I will always talk about and for them, that’s ok because they can see and hear how happy it makes me and more often than not, will want to share in that joy.

All of this does not mean it will be easy. Being an educator can be hard. The more ambitious your goals, the more challenging it can be, often feeling like you are on a roller coaster. There will be road blocks but being driven by your life’s work, you will come to see these challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.

Never settle. Always want to be better, strive for more and continue to want to change the world! Teaching is more than ‘just a job’, it is the ‘job’, it is the ‘job’ that creates all others- never underestimate that.

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