Recently I had the shock of getting to know a couple of people whose character/ demeanour/ personality filled me with curiosity. They appear to lack any discernible measure of egotism. They demonstrate excellence – not just small-pond admiration – and yet are also kind and humble, thoughtful and nuanced, assume the best of others and try to bring out the best in others. Surprise, surprise, they are teachers, however their lack of egotism is what really draws me to them.

This gives me great pause, because I realise this evening that for the entirety of my career, including during my BEd., while working in an Autism centre, in my first job and in my current position, I have had to battle against, prove myself, impress, or try to outdo countless teachers, administrators, or pedagogues and their massive, massive egos. And to be perfectly honest, I have a pretty sizeable ego too, so I am certainly part of the problem.

I am really shaken by this realisation. I actually spent a fair bit of time just now coming up with a list of examples of horrible, ego-driven interactions – I had at least eight and counting – but they were all so negative and nasty that I didn’t feel like I could share them with you, dear readers. You don’t deserve it.  

The individuals of the first paragraph have an aura of positivity, but it’s not a bulls*&$, positive psychology, smile your clinical depression away kind of positivity. Nor is their positivity unrelenting – I have witnessed them call out a pedagogical trash fire when they see one. And I know they haven’t just had better luck with their teaching experiences than I have either. Their positivity seems to be generated by an authentic sense of purpose (I dunno, it’s late and I’m babbling now).

Perhaps you’re thinking that I should focus more on my positive experiences, where other teachers gave me tons of support and built up my confidence, and when I have done the same for others. I absolutely have those, and I am more than willing to concentrate on building my relationships with those people in the future. However, this evening I am simply gobsmacked by how much egotism has influenced and shaped my experience of the teaching profession.

One final thought before bed: the experience of this challenge has been one of the most positive, creative, open and ego-free of my career. I am so thrilled and inspired by the posts I am reading – I am learning so much about writing from all of you. And I am so incredibly grateful to have people read and enjoy my writing. Participating in this challenge has filled me with so much joy.



3 thoughts on “Égoïste

  1. I’ve known a few of those nearly egoless people in my life too, and it’s quite a revelation to see that one can live quite happily and comfortably in that zone. I’m pretty sure the universe isn’t done teaching me this lesson, I clutch my righteous indignation and intellectual certitude close close close to me! Ah well, it’s good to have aspirations! Loved your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand- it is easy to get drawn into the ego and negativity. Sometimes it feels like admin actually fosters that. Competition can be healthy, but in education, I feel that it shouldn’t at all be encouraged- when 1 “wins” we all do. Mentoring another teacher to success increases the number of students who are successful, and isn’t that what we are here for? I much prefer to work in a positive collaborative atmosphere. I feel I am better for it.

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  3. This community really is something special. I’ve been through all the feelings about it – excitement, awe, overawe (what can I possibly write that will fit in) and more. Through it all, others have been there, commenting. I am really enjoying your blog. Your voice is honest and your range is wide. Tonight I am feeling humbled by your reflections about egotism and teaching. I’m impressed that you thought your way through EIGHT ego-driven interactions. I shied away from that little thought experiment after I found the first one. No one will ever accuse me of having an underdeveloped ego. So I am intrigued by these colleagues of yours and long to know more – and I’m busy thinking of my own colleagues… hm… Ok – that reflection aside, can I point out these amazing lines, please? “not a bulls*&$, positive psychology, smile your clinical depression away kind of positivity” and “I have witnessed them call out a pedagogical trash fire when they see one.” Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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