By guest writer: Kiana Porter-Isom

Each morning a teacher steps into a classroom and carries with them the potential to shape futures, influence young minds, and leave an everlasting mark on the generations to come. However, amid the daily rigors and relentless dedication, there might come a moment of quiet contemplation, a whisper from within that urges one to reassess, re-evaluate, and realign one’s professional journey with their inner purpose.

I, too, began my journey with a dry-erase marker in hand and a whiteboard full of possibilities. The classroom was my sanctuary, and every day brought with it a promise of discovery and making a mark on the tender minds that looked up to me with eager eyes.

However, as the seasons of my teaching career changed, so did the hues of my aspirations. There came a time when the space inside the walls of the classroom did feel quite large enough for me to expand into my full potential, not because the love for education had dimmed, but because a new whisper of purpose was echoing in the chambers of my heart. It nudged me to look beyond, to explore the realms where my skills and passions could find a new playground.

My transition from the classroom wasn’t a leap, but a carefully navigated journey.  Each step was a blend of contemplation, courage, and a burning desire to stay aligned with my evolving purpose.

This piece is an ode to every teacher standing at the crossroads of such self-reflection. It’s an encouragement to embrace the process of reassessment with open arms, a warm heart, and a clear mind. Here, we’ll explore a structured approach to assess if your current professional stance resonates with your inner purpose, and steps to realign if a discord is felt. 
To be clear: This isn’t a call to exit the classroom. Rather, it is an invitation to teachers who feel inner conflict to honor that inner dialogue, to find harmony between their career and their core purpose.

5 Reflective Questions to Confirm Alignment with Your Purpose

  1. Passion Pulse: Does the morning bell still ring with the same fervor? Do the daily interactions, the breakthroughs with students, and the creative lesson planning still ignite a spark within you? Or have these become mere tasks on a checklist?
  1. Values Verification: As education systems evolve, do your core values still find resonance with your current work environment? Is there harmony or discord?
  1. Growth Gauge: Reflect on your learning curve. Are you evolving both personally and professionally, or do you feel stagnated in a routine?
  1. Achievement Appraisal: Does the joy of student achievements, the successful implementation of a new teaching strategy, or positive feedback still hold the same sweet taste of satisfaction?
  1. Balance Barometer: Assess the scales of work-life balance. Is your profession allowing you the space to nurture your personal life, relationships, and interests?

These questions serve as mirrors reflecting the alignment or misalignment between your current teaching position and your inner calling. It’s crucial to traverse this path of self-inquiry with a compassionate heart and a non-judgmental mind. A momentary cloud of discontent doesn’t necessarily signal a need for change, but a persistent feeling might.

5 Stepping Stones to Realign Your Career with Your Purpose

  1. Introspection Invitation: Carve out time from your routine to introspect. Dive into your interests, values, and long-term aspirations. It’s a journey inward before taking a step outward.
  1. Mentorship Map: Seek mentorship from those who’ve walked similar paths or have expertise in areas you are curious about. Their experiences can illuminate your path.
  1. Exploration Excursion: Should you find a need for realignment, venture into exploring new roles that could rekindle your passion, be it within the educational realm or beyond.
  1. Transition Trail: Craft a realistic and thoughtful transition plan. Change is a journey, not a leap. Prepare yourself for the new, while cherishing the present.
  1. Learning Lane: Embrace learning with an open heart. Every new skill acquired, every new insight gained is a step closer to aligning your profession with your purpose.

Download and print the worksheet to work through it at your own pace and reflect!

Every Journey Includes Pit Stops Along The Way

The journey of self-discovery and realignment is both exhilarating and enlightening. It’s about nurturing a relationship with oneself, understanding one’s desires, and aligning them with one’s professional endeavors. For many, teaching is not just a profession, but a calling. And every calling deserves to resonate with the tender, profound, and passionate chords of one’s heart.

Celebrate your courage to stand at the crossroads of contemplation. It’s a testament to your dedication not just to your profession, but to your own self. Whether you choose to continue in the classroom or venture into new realms, your happiness and fulfillment are paramount. Each thought, each contemplation you have today is paving the path for a more resonant, fulfilling, and harmonious tomorrow.

Author Bio

Kiana holds 15 years of progressive education, ed-tech, and leadership experience, including classroom teacher, instructional coach, curriculum manager, professional learning developer and facilitator, professional services manager, Director of Implementation, and Vice President of implementation and Revenue Enablement. Her VIPs call her wife, mommy, daughter, sister, aunty, and friend. When she needs to recharge, she enjoys reading, spending time at the beach, and clocking miles on the Peloton. Connect with Kiana on LinkedIn to keep the conversation going.