Just a Teacher

Kari PitstickBlog, Reflect Better, Teach Happier


  • In education, there can be a lot of pressure to take roles outside of the classroom. But it is okay to be “just a teacher.”
  • Trust your feelings and follow a path that you desire, not what you think other people want you to do.

The first memory I have of wanting to be a teacher was probably in 1st grade when I would come home and teach my stuffed animals what I learned at school that day on a little whiteboard I had in my room. I also specifically remember an instance when my 3rd grade teacher let me create a worksheet for my classmates, and then I brought the stack home at night to grade them. (Shoutout to Mrs. W. for letting me do that!)

Fast forward a lot of years and I’m now close to beginning my 7th year as a 7th grade teacher. I’ve been asked by many people, so do you have plans to go into administration? Or become an instructional coach? What do you want to do?

I’m going to “move up” in my career by continually exploring new and innovative ways to reach my ever-evolving students each year of my career. Click To Tweet

My answer is always the same: I’m happy with where I’m at. My plan is to be just a teacher.

To people outside of education, in order to “move up” in one’s career, they must take a different position. And truthfully, there may be people in the world of education who feel that way too. But I don’t believe that to be true.

When I went back to school in 2017 to get my master’s degree, I decided I wanted to earn my degree in curriculum & instruction to gain more knowledge about the content and age I currently teach. When family and friends heard I was going back to school, many assumed it was to get my administrative degree, because that is what people do, right?

But I knew, in my heart, that I don’t (won’t) want to be an administrator. And that is okay.

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I’m going to “move up” in my career by continually exploring new and innovative ways to reach my ever-evolving students each year of my career.

And I’m going to “move up” by finding ways to be a leader in my own way, among my different teams.

…And I think that will be enough for me.

I know to always acknowledge that things can change; maybe a day will come in my career where I really want to do something like be an instructional coach. But truly, my heart is in the classroom. I think it always has been, and I’m pretty sure it always will be.

I have discovered ways to keep my passion alive, and I’m confident those strategies can help me sustain this feeling for the duration of my career. I’d love to share more about that, but I’ll save that for another blog.

So whether you aspire to hold a different position in the world of education or don’t even know if you would like to stay in education at all long term, follow your heart. And if you desire to stay where you are, as just a teacher, that is okay too. Because it’s a darn good feeling to be loving what you do.

About Kari Pitstick

Kari Pitstick is a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher and athletic coach in Illinois. She is the Digital Content Coordinator for the Teach Better Team. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Middle Level Education, and American College of Education in 2018 with a master’s in Curriculum & Instruction.

Kari has known she wanted to teach at the middle level since she was in middle school herself. One of her main missions is to provide a safe and friendly environment for students to explore their passions as learners and as people.