When I was a few years out of college, my best friend became a line cook at a restaurant at a reasonably high-end hotel. And the second he did, he stopped being my best friend.
This wasn’t out of anger or anything he did, mind. Rather, it was because the hospitality industry is one of the weirdest industries to work in. Every second that normal people aren’t working, you are. When normal people have free time, you don’t. From 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., on all holidays, on all weekends – these are your peak hours.
When he made this jump, it was hard to stay friends with him, just because his schedule changed so dramatically. It was like he was living on another planet. And he made new friends – among the hospitality industry. Because they were the only other people who could really understand what his life was like now. They were his tribe.
Education Is Our Tribe
The hospitality industry is an extreme example of how a profession can make your life different from everyone else’s – but I think similar sentiments could be said of educators. Educators are, like the hospitality industry, somewhat forced to work around the hours of the “mainstream” working population. (A rule here at TCEA is, if you can’t get a newsletter sent out before 7:30 a.m., it’s probably better to wait for the next day. Educators simply won’t have time to read it.)
And though educators certainly work with other adults, like the “mainstream” population, they also work with young people in a state of rapid development, in environments that are very different from either home or work. Really, education is very much a “third place” among locations where we interact with one another: more inviting and comfortable than work, yet not as permissive and private as home. The rules are different – but the rules are very much present, far more so than in many other industries.
The Sense of Isolation
I have learned that if you labor in “outlier” professions for too long without support, it begins to feel lonely. Most other people do not have these responsibilities. Most other people do not make these choices or these sacrifices. They don’t know this level of stress.
This is why TCEA has always labored to be that “tribe” for educators, and provide the support you need to succeed not only technically – in advice, in tips, in suggestions, with tools – but also emotionally. Because I find there’s often a relief to be had when hearing others share the same concerns as you – not because you expect a solution to those concerns, but because it’s confirmation that such concerns aren’t unusual.
TCEA is here to be that tribe for educators of all roles and types: for elementary teachers, for tech administrators, for librarians, or even for entire campuses and districts that are looking to further their knowledge. We say “We are TCEA” quite a bit – but we mean it. For all of the people working in all their positions throughout the unusual profession of education, we’re here to be your tribe, to end the isolation, and to give you the support you need to succeed not just in the classroom and the office, but throughout your career.