A New Identity #PledgeForChange20

by Charlie Kraig @cvkraig

How to write a blog post for #WomenEd

  • Sign up for the online event via eventbrite.
  • Add the event to your calendar.
  • Lose track of days while visiting family. Never check your calendar.

 

  • Realize while traveling home that the reason your timeline is exploding with inspirational #WomenEd #Pledgeforchange20 posts was because of the event you signed up for (and should be participating in).
  • Convince yourself that because it is still technically December 29 in your part of the world for the next few hours, you aren’t late to the party!

My involvement in the world of education looks incredibly different than I would have ever imagined. Right now, my full time job is parenting our boys (4 and 2) and I am able to design professional learning for teachers as a contract consultant on a part-time basis, typically scheduled on my husband’s days off. There was a time (not too long ago) where I did not feel comfortable in this arrangement. I missed the buzz of a school — connecting with students, supporting and cheering on my colleagues, and the “real” leadership that I feel is my calling and passion. 

Without my job, I struggled to find an identity. If I wasn’t a teacher, then who was I?

To say that this identity search was outside of my comfort zone may be an understatement. I felt adrift. There were so many things I missed about school leadership; however, that longing did not outweigh the stresses of finding suitable childcare, commuting, managing our home, etc. that were/are inevitable when I return to full-time *paid* work. I realized I needed to fill my time (and heart) with something else. When we relocated to our current town, I joined our local Potters’ Guild. This was primarily an opportunity to make friends (because seriously, how do adults do this when they don’t work?!?) but also to continue playing with mud.

Charlie

Pottery has been a form of therapy for me for years. You have to be present. Start thinking about something else and the clay stops cooperating. You have to let go of perfection. Sometimes “good enough” is a win — trust me. You have to be patient and be cautiously optimistic that the piece will survive all stages of the process. You learn that your journey as a potter is personal. Comparing yourself to others can lead to feeling inadequate when you are anything but. Lastly, you quickly learn that people can find beauty in pieces that you want to toss. Spending time on this hobby not only has stretched my skills as a potter, but also pushed me into unfamiliar places like selling items at our annual sales and building an online sales platform.

Charlie 2

Christmas tree ornaments by cvk ceramics

So what does all of this have to do with #WomenEd and our #Pledgeforchange20?

Sometimes stepping out of the comfort zone takes us away from education and schools and that’s okay because our identities are richer than our occupations. Teaching and leadership is primarily about learning and what better way to learn than to expand one’s skills in within a hobby or area of interest. It’s humbling to be the beginner. Despite playing with mud for over a decade, I still feel like a beginner. Sharing our stories connects us in important ways and someone in the #WomenEd community may be in a similar space right now.

I am truly grateful for the #WomenEd network and I look forward to working with Lisa Hannay and @WomenEdAlberta to host a #LeadMeet this spring. We are better and stronger together.

Thanks for reading. And considering. And leading

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