I don’t know why anyone would choose to work in education. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s very rewarding. Not financially, of course. But all that feel good stuff you see in those teacher movies is quite true.
Having said that (and let me also say that I am pretty excited about the start of this new year) I think working in education is pretty much like being in a knife fight. Here’s why:
- It’s a death by a thousand cuts: the effects of creeping compliance, restricted funding, and massive institutional change wear me down. It’s crazy that I don’t notice until I’m bleeding all over the floor.
- It’s unpredictable: I’m an educator right? Well it turns out I brought a whiteboard maker to knife fight. Sure the pen is mightier than the sword. Still damn hurts more being stabbed by a knife than a pen.
- They will stab you: I’m not talking about that young offenders class. At least, if you sign up for working with criminal types you are probably aware of the physical dangers. I’m talking about the slings and arrows of outrageous educational politics and bureaucracy. I need to protect myself.
- You will bleed: Sticks and stones right? Wrong. Cushy teaching position? That’s what my friends think. I know I’m on the front lines and in the trenches. With a club.
So… what to do about it? I’m not really sure… But as Bruce Lee might have said: “The best defence is a good offence”. I have no idea what this means. But I’m working on some strategies this year to make myself more personally resilient.
- Working on strengthening my business to become more antifragile in education by disrupting my business model, open sourcing everything I know, designing how I want to work, and looking for new ways to do the same stuff.
- Challenging myself to think more entrepreneurially in the business of education and encouraging other educators to do the same (this applies if they are employees as well as contractors or business owners).
- Getting physically stronger and more flexible. This will sound strange, but I’m working on the theory that if I get physically more in shape, I’ll see a corresponding change in my mental and emotional resilience (and ability to to handle myself in any knife fights).
Since there were no actual knife fighting classes where I live, this year I’ve signed up for a hybrid martial arts training club. I’ve been twice now.
The first time I went to training I nearly blacked out. That was during the warm up.
I don’t know how long I’ll last. But I hope by writing about it out here I’ll force myself to stick it out.