who’s first?

I’ve incorporated a journal component into one of my classes this semester. Most of the students are future teachers, juniors and seniors in English Education, so I envisioned the journals as a space for teaching ideas, concerns, observations about the practices of other teachers, field experience notes, etc. However, many students create their own prompts, which is perfectly fine with me.

During this last round of journals, one prompt was especially popular: a list of identities, qualities, skills, beliefs, etc., beginning with the phrase “I am.”

I haven’t used this prompt yet. And tonight, right now, I think I know why. What would I put first? How would I begin?

I am a woman? I am a teacher? I am a wife? I am a student? I am anti-corporation? I am a closet Weezer-lover? You get the point.

Here’s the problem I’m dealing with tonight: I really might put things in roughly this order. I mean, yes, somewhere near the beginning I’d also identify as a daughter/sister, daughter-in-law/sister-in-law, and an aunt (family is important to me), but “teacher” would most assuredly be in the top three.

What if I’m not teaching next year? Can I do anything else? In my mind, who I am is so wrapped up in what I do that I’m all of a sudden frightened. What am I if I’m not a teacher? I think I’d rather say “I am a writer”!!!! At least I have a wee bit of control over that identity.

(A shaky premise, I know, but I have to have something.)

What would you put first?

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