Teaching: The Lonely Island
Teaching is a profession where you interact with people every day. You are constantly tested on your social skills, which is why it is important that teachers are mature adults and able to be outgoing in a way that supports the education of the students. With all that said, it might surprise you to hear that teaching can sometimes be a really lonely profession too. Although you are surrounded by students all day, you might not think about the fact that the majority of time is spent with people that are not your peers. You might be able to connect with students on certain levels, but there is an inherent distance between teacher and student that is just a part of the relationship, neither in a good nor bad way. There are definitely opportunities to interact with other teachers, who can represent your peers, but the limited time and group might make you feel like you are stuck in a silo amongst a bunch of other people that act as passing ships in the night. It is not so much that you need peers to bounce ideas off of, but it is nice to feel like you have professional colleagues that you can share stories with, complain about bad days with, and that have your back when you need them. Basically, I am just saying that you want friends and sometimes you want teacher friends that are not limited to the people at your school.
So how are you supposed to meet teachers from around the county if you are not working with them? The good thing about social media is that it has allowed us to connect superficially in a way that we can convert into value for ourselves. What I mean is that there are groups that you can join where you have a “community” of people that you can call on when you need advice or a favor. It seems like friendship, but it can just be strangers paying it forward more often. In great situations, you can set mixers for people to get to know each other in the real world. When you have professional peers, it can really take away the feeling that you are just on your own out there as a teacher. There are some teachers that find themselves in relationships with students where you are really seeing that they lack attention from their peers. It is important to make sure that you do not let the loneliness affect you negatively.