A Woman with a Dream – My Vision for Addicted to Teaching

Sonya Barnes June 27, 2019

Working hard to get things done
This was my classroom guest on National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day back in October

I love being a teacher.  It is not an easy job, especially if you only think of it as a job, and it is not something I ever set out to do.  Yet, I always knew I’d be a teacher.  It’s strange. I love helping people and I love sharing what I know.  I’m a talker and a little bit of a bossy butt—these things haven’t changed since my youth and are definitely perks to having a classroom.  All joking aside, I never envisioned this for my life.  I became a teacher as a single mom graduating with a business degree and a corporate job that didn’t value me as a person, only the speed with which I did my job that helped them profit, but then would penalize me for being a single mom when he needed me for school events or illness. I took the first teaching position I was offered, put in my notice and became a teacher. I fell in love in the first week. 

I started out as a 6th grade Reading teacher in a Title 1 school in a rough area where these kids dealt with things that made school grades seem inconsequential.  I was so green, I really didn’t know what teaching was supposed to look like at this level, so I taught skills that applied what they were supposed to learn to life with things that they either were interested in or I made them interested in because they needed to know them. I enjoyed planning themed units, meeting with colleagues to learn new things, discussing ideas with my kids, and grading their work and giving feedback that praised their skill or effort and encouraged improvement where they needed help.  And after twelve years, in spite of the tears, long hours, ridiculous hoops to jump through that have been implemented, and changes in leaders, policies, grades, subject, or schools, I still love it at its core and believe in what I am doing.

I started Addicted to Teaching as a project for a Master’s course I was taking a few years ago and have just kept it going. I added a YouTube channel a couple of years ago and, with no skills in front of, or behind, the camera, kept trying new ideas.  Some were good, and some were dumb—watch some of my older videos and you’ll see.  But I learned something with every video.  Last year I took a break because life just got tough trying to juggle it all.  But I missed it.  I missed creating. I missed planning. I missed the new skills in an unfamiliar world I was learning.  But I wanted more than just videos.  And I knew that learners need a variety of avenues to learn from, so I added this blog and, at the encouragement of a tech-savvy coworker that supported my idea, a Twitter account. And now this hobby has become an adventure and a creative outlet.  For every one thing I cross off of my idea list, I add three more. I look forward to writing, creating, learning.  I’m developing an eye for the vision of a scene and am slowly learning about cameras, lighting, background, editing software and techniques.  But I enjoy it.

But enough about the past.  Let me talk about the future.  I want this to become more than a hobby. I want to help teachers.  Teachers that are new, old, lost, on top of their game but looking for new ideas, overwhelmed or burnt out but looking for a fresh start.  Most of all, I wanted to motivate good teachers to stay good and stay teachers.  Most of our meetings seem to bring us down with rolling out new changes or throwing new things at us in such drawn out ways that we are too exhausted to do anything with the new information.  But I’ve been to meetings for other career fields that motivate, inspire, rejuvenate, educate—and I want that for education. But I don’t want to wait for someone else to do it. 

So here I am, doing it, or rather, trying to do it. Because I have so much to learn about this new world I am jumping into.  But I have ideas that I want to share with you so that you know where I am coming from and where I am trying to get to.

The mission. I want to create content that will motivate and inspire educators in all fields and walks of their journey to maintain a balanced life, self-identify and seek out opportunities for personal growth and engage in a community of positive educators they can grow with and help others grow to keep the passion in the profession.

The goal. I want to provide information for growth both personally and professionally that will be condensed or broken into parts that won’t take longer than 20 minutes for me to share so that you can take it and do something with it while you are motivated.  I want to introduce you to it and give you steps for it, then let you go with your own vision and adaptation of what it should look like yet be there to help you if you need it.  I strive for this in my classroom, so I want to do the same here.  Besides, no one likes a long training. I want to share experiences and reviews of products that I experience that others may encounter—even if not just related to education.  After all, the world we live in inspires so much of what we bring into our classroom, doesn’t it?  And if we don’t address the entire educator, including beyond the classroom, we won’t have balance and, to create a mental image, will leave you looking a bit like a body builder that skipped leg day all too often.

The brand. You can see in the website name, the channel name, that I am calling this Addicted to Teaching, because that is how I feel.  Even if I do leave the classroom or career field, I will always be a teacher. It’s addicting trying to always find a way to do it better. Never stop learning. Never stop teaching. This is going to be my motto. My tagline. My catchphrase. Whatever you want to call it, but I plan to feed my addiction because there will always be a need for learning in the world, so there will always be a need for teaching.  And I know I am not alone in this thinking. I’m working on a logo for my pages and so that I can have stickers or shirts to share that connect our community together.  If you have ideas and are willing, share them with me—2-D art is not my thing, just ask my 9th grade art teacher.

The future. My health is not going to let me stay in the classroom much longer.  I’m allergic to so many things and am becoming more sensitive with each year.  At some point, I will be faced with teaching from behind plexiglass or inside of a bubble if I am to stay in the classroom.  I suffer miserably because I refuse to wear a mask in my classroom, yet react almost daily to a fragrance, animal, or residue on my kids or in my classroom. I want to be able to use this platform to mentor teachers, become a consultant or trainer, and I want to work this as my husband and I pursue a goal of being full time RV’ers traveling around the country, which would also allow me to meet you in person and profile you in future videos to share with others.

The fact that you are reading this means the world to me.  It is powerful and inspiring to have a listener for my voice, an audience watching my videos, a sounding board to discuss ideas with and give me honest, yet kind, feedback—and I want to be that for you.  This profession is challenging enough, both from within and from the outside, that we need each other if we are to continue to succeed.  So, subscribe to my website, follow me on Twitter and on Facebook, subscribe to my videos on YouTube and like and comment on them.  Tell me what things you are struggling with or want to learn about, and I will create content about them, either from my experiences or from researching, interviewing, or spotlighting others.  Help me grow this into a business and fulfill a dream I have.  And, if I can, I will do the same for you.

Want to see more? Subscribe to this page to get notifications when new blogs post. The video will be posted to YouTube Sunday, but you can click this link to subscribe and watch other videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCupISfBEejlSrXzNPDhN7cg

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