Posted in Education, teacher, wellbeing

Reflect On Your Ikigai

Our society is going through a troublesome time right now. Regardless of profession, religion, beliefs or social or financial status. Everyone is experiencing their own kind of difficulty. I have recently found solace in a daily writing challenge with some lovely educators and like-minded lovelies on Twitter, and I’d like to share something I’ve learned from the very woman who’s headed up the #DailyWritingChallenge.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.

Image Credit: Fran McEwan

After reading a host of inspirational and thought-provoking blogs on the topic of purpose today, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on my own Ikigai and invite you to do the same.

What is your profession? Teaching & education. I am 3 years into my profession as a primary school teacher.

What is your vocation? I believe that my vocation is to help young people reflect on their development to help them grow and realise their aspirations.

What is your passion? I am passionate about mental health, English, reading, writing and creativity.

What is your mission? I am committed to guiding young people in their education by supporting their mental and social-emotional health.

What do you love? I love networking, reading a diverse range of genres, writing to unwind and being in a classroom.

What are you good at? I am good at being positive and helping others to do the same. I am good at remaining calm during stressful times and prioritising. I am good at believing that ‘this too shall pass’ and helping others to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What does the world need? I believe that the world needs compassion, love, optimism and happiness.

What can you be paid for? Teaching, mentoring, curriculum design, CPD delivery.

Some of the above came very naturally while others I had to think about for a while. I think that’s totally normal. Especially when answering questions about what you’re good at. Had I been asked what I’m bad at, I think I could have written a whole post on that! Alas, this is not a time to be negative. I’ve enjoyed reflecting on my Ikigai and think this is something I’d love to share with colleagues in the future, and it’s definitely something that I’ll come back to when I need to refocus and remember my purpose.

Posted in daily writing challenge, Education, teacher, wellbeing

#DailyWritingChallenge – Day 5 – Purpose

The word purpose comes from Anglo-French roots purpos/porpos and translates as ‘aim’, ‘intention’, ‘goal’ and ‘to put forth’. I believe purpose underpins everything I do as a human being, from being a daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, teacher and a colleague. I do everything with and for a purpose. To be truthful, I find it rather difficult to do things without purpose.

I’ve always needed to know why. As a child, I needed to know why my Stretch Armstrong was so stretchy, so I poked holes in him with a pin to find out. I needed to know how the Sylvanian Family animals were put together, so I peeled away their fuzzy skin to see. I always asked questions. I think this curiosity has developed into a need for purpose as I’ve grown. I need to understand how something is put together, how it works and how this translates into a purpose.

I need a purpose for what I do. Otherwise, what’s the point? If I’m teaching a scheme of work to my class, I need to know the purpose. What are the desired outcomes? Why am I doing this? How does it benefit the children? If I’m delivering CPD to my colleagues I need to make the purpose clear – I need to explain concisely how this CPD will develop them as professionals and how it can be used in practice.

What is a teacher without purpose?

I have a purpose – to teach my pupils and help them grow and develop into kind, knowledgable humans. I have a purpose as a daughter and a sister to pull my weight within out family unit and support everyone as they have supported me. I have a purpose as a girlfriend to be a life partner for someone else, whose needs will sometimes come before my own. I have a purpose as a friend to put into those relationships what I desire to get out of them. I have so many purposes that it makes my head spin.

Purpose is the reason for which something is done. Why do I do all of those things listed above? I do them so that I can share my knowledge and skills with others. I do them so that I can make other people happy and feel content. I do them so that I can feel like the best version of myself. I do them so that the people around me can be the best versions of themselves. Purpose can also be defined as a person’s sense of resolve or determination, to have a sense of purpose.

I worry that many people will be feeling like they’ve lost their purpose over recent weeks. As teachers we’ve had our classrooms and pupils ripped away from us and a whole new concept of education laid out in front of us. Don’t lose sight of your purpose. Now, more than ever, our sense of purpose is what we need to hold on to the tightest.