What Defines You? (Thoughts from My Walk Today.)
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
As I was walking today, I found myself thinking about how I can improve my middle school Music Appreciation class. This is not because it's not going well. It's going wonderfully. However, teachers are always looking for different ways to engage students because not everyone learns the same way, and variety in instructional delivery helps, in general, to keep things interesting.
Then I thought to myself, "Why am I thinking about work? I left work over an hour ago. I have a life outside of work. I should think about that." The phrase "What defines you?" came to my mind as I tried to decide what to think about.
I once participated in a day-long Cultural Sensitivity workshop (back when I worked for a church). One thing I have always remembered from that day is how Americans tend to define themselves by their jobs. Think about it... when you first meet someone, what's the first thing you usually ask them?
"What do you do?"
People from other cultures don't generally do that. They will ask about your family or your personal interests. I remember one of my European friends saying that Americans live to work... other cultures work to live. There does seem to be some truth to that, as many of us take our jobs with us everywhere we go, especially now that we're connected 24/7 with our personal devices.
I'm still performing as an amateur concert pianist in competitions and recitals.
I'm trying to revive my exercise regimen. I like to be fit.
I enjoy taking care of my house.
I enjoy being outside in nature.
I'm a fan of Downton Abbey, Star Trek, and (ok...) Judge Judy.
I enjoy reading, especially juvenile fiction (love my old Nancy Drew books.)
All these are things I could spend my personal time doing or thinking about. So why do I think about my job so much of the time outside of work? I'm proud of the work I do as a teacher and I love my students, but teaching is not the only thing that defines who I am.
Hopefully we can all learn to leave the job behind at the end of every workday and focus on the other things that define who we are.