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Personal vs Professional

Merging our personal lives with our professional one, in my opinion, is a struggle. Although the two definitely do impact each other and play a role in both the minor and major decisions we make in each of them, they do so in a very unconscious manner. But our constant urge to divide the two results in contradictory feelings and thoughts on how our profession may be a big factor in making us achieve a much more valuable goal- growing to become better human beings. This is particularly relevant to fields that are based on facts, on close-ended solutions making little room for what we truly value.

To tackle this, in an educational setting, it is essential that classes are designed in a manner that allow curiosity, critical thinking and creativity. In addition, by connecting the influence that the field has on society, to encourage students to find ways that could potentially solve the troubles associated with current ones and make them more efficient by introducing them to associated aspects in a pertinent manner. Another important aspect of being able to allow students to be identify with their fields in a more personal approach relates to Parker Palmer’s suggestion to allow students “to see how, when we fail and fall down, as we always do, we manage to get up again.” As educators, having the ‘chance’ to become a role model (even if to a few students) should push us to be who we are, to show what our personal aspirations, the struggles associated with them and the respectable ways in which we become vulnerable as we grow out of them. Thus, being an evidence to the inevitability of resistances they will come to face throughout their lives and anticipation to overcoming them.

6 Responses to Personal vs Professional

  1. Jyotsana says:

    Thank you for your post Dina. I agree that as educators we have to not only be open to teach and learn as we work with our students but also be able to share vulnerable moments with them, role modelling for them various ups and downs as well as the responses to them which result in growth beyond the comfort zone.

  2. Chang says:

    It’s interesting to think about the relation and interaction about personal life and professional life. Sometimes maybe it’s hard to manage conflicts between this two things. I would say when I become a teacher in the future, I will be happy to share part of my personal life with my students. It’s more convictive to telling my own stories.

  3. Lauren Kennedy says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts- I often think about these dynamics myself. I really like the diagrams you included too, because it presents different ways of viewing the interactions you’re talking about. Maybe they are so intertwined that one is embedded in the other, as in the second diagram, as opposed to how we traditionally think of our personal life VS our professional life.

  4. robert says:

    I appreciate your discussion on the ways we negotiate the personal and professional. It is definitely very difficult to manage to separate the two, and I wholeheartedly agree that we need to accept the fact that they are bound together. I definitely face this challenge in the course I teach – I have a very particular political position, but I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that my class is about the students and not about my political position. This has led me to actually challenge students on statements that I fundamentally agree with, but I believe in doing so, I provide space for them to think a bit more critically about their own views, positionality, and that of the materials we cover. I think this has made teaching this semester all the more personal, because I’ve had to accept the fact that it is not about me, my views, or even my notions of justice, but in providing space, provocations, the means, and invitations for students to take charge of their own journey.

  5. Vanessa Guerra says:

    Thank you for this post Diana. I really like your way of addressing this challenge. Sometimes we look at our personal and professional life as two different things, when she should rather look at two aspects that should intersect. Although it is hard to find a balance, I really like the insight you provide in this post.

  6. Shiqiang says:

    I agree with the previous comments that it is difficult to find a balance between personal and professional life. But if I become an instructor in the future, I will try to be friends with the students in the class (if the class size is not that large) and probably share personal feeling as well as stories with each other. Bringing some emotion factors to the classroom definitely can help students learn better and sometimes even help instructor to know the strength and weakness of each student.

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