Does the act of being selfish, allow us to be selfless? I suppose it depends on how we define the word selfish: “devoted to or caring only for oneself, taking time to do things for oneself, disregarding others.” What about self-love? Does that allow us to be selfless? Self-love is directed to promoting one’s own welfare, so it would make sense that taking time for oneself only allows us to do the things that make us happy. For example, the oxygen mask analogy states, “it is important to put on your own oxygen mask first, in order to help others!” So, why is it that we are called ‘selfish’ when we maintain our own self-love, when we say ‘NO’ to things we just cannot commit to, or when we don’t do things that don’t serve our own personal goals? Being selfish and selfless are both necessary components to teaching and creating a sustainable curriculum. Creating sustainable curriculum creates selfishness because WE believe in the value of our work. We defend our work everyday, (to those who will listen and those who won’t). We want others to value the effort and time we put into creating our curriculum and helping students succeed. We are selfish because WE love teaching – teaching makes us happy. We remain selfish in the good sense of the word because WE want our students to succeed. While we incorporate our student’s learning styles into our curriculum, we remain selfish because WE are making connections with our students that allow them to learn better based on said learning style. WE have pride in our students when the succeed.
Now enter selfless…the entire occupation and service of teaching is selfless. WE are often selfless in teaching because we make an impact on our students everyday. WE are selfless when we help that one student obtain a healthy breakfast in the morning. WE are selfless when we provide clothing to those who can’t afford it. WE are selfless when we spend time listening to our students problems and concerns.
All in all, everyday, we are presented with the decision to keep plugging along or do something for ourselves that rejuvenates us. It is imperative that we set some time aside for ourselves in order to juggle everything that is going on in our lives. We often carry too much stress and do not take time for ourselves to make our own world a better place. Create balance. Honor your own emotions. Make choices based on what truly makes you happy. Let go of unnecessary guilt. You are worth it!