More Than a Teacher: You Outside Education

Karen EvansBlog, Self Care Better


  • Who are you as a person, outside of education?
  • How can you make time each day to fill yourself up as a human being?

Who are you outside education?

Spring break is on the horizon and just beyond that, it’s summer. Those of us on the blogger team wanted to fill you up with posts about real self-care because the pseudo-self-care messages the world is hurling at us are beginning to feel like weapons. Today, I want you to put your education career to the side. Who are you as a person?

Are you a writer?

Years ago, I met one of my favorite authors, Dani Shapiro. The entire experience was beautiful. It was a small, intimate group of us who formed fast friendships for the evening. Dani’s presence was palpable. She was fully in the moment, giving her time, and for that hour, we moved through life together. In the signing line, she asked me a question:

Are you a writer?

The question shook me. Dani glimpsed a piece of my soul long left buried by adult life, hidden away under piles of teaching, meetings, and other commitments. Her question stayed with me. Many times over the years that followed, I would clear away the clutter and begin again.

Dani’s presence was palpable. She was fully in the moment, giving her time, and for that hour, we moved through life together. In the signing line, she asked me a question: are you a writer? Click To Tweet

Today, another one of my favorite authors woke up early, before his day job as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, to begin again. Starting with a blank computer screen, Leonard Pitts, Jr. started drafting the sequel to The Last Thing You Surrender. I have thoughts to mail him breakfast treats with little notes of encouragement, subtle hints that his fan club is waiting, but will refrain from the intrusion.

“It is that which is under pressure of concealment that explodes into poetry.”

– Adrienne Rich

Morning Pages

Previously, I wrote about how I start my days. Inspired by Dani Shapiro and Leonard Pitts, Jr., I dipped my toe into writing and started a new routine—morning pages.

Designed by Julia Cameron, morning pages are three pages of longhand, pen to paper writing. They aren’t anything you’d ever show to anyone. They aren’t even real writing but rather stream of consciousness thoughts to launch oneself into the collective stream of creativity. For me, they’re about showing up for myself as a writer—putting in the time each day with the hopes to challenge myself by adding on real writing once this small habit is established.

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How do you spend your days?

Yes, I am a special education teacher, a naturalist guide, and reservation specialist for our local park district, and a digital content editor for Teach Better, but I’m also a writer.

How do you make time for yourself as a person? Do you have interests and hobbies that bring you joy? You are so much more than a teacher.

“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.”

– Annie Dillard

About Karen Evans

Karen is a 6th grade special education teacher in Muskegon, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education, a Master’s in Measurement and Evaluation, and has studied educational leadership with an emphasis on Special Education Administration at Grand Valley State University. Her goal in the classroom is to use trauma-informed practices to make all students feel seen, heard, and loved as she equips them to see their own strengths, set and take ownership of learning goals, and achieve excellence. In her free time, Karen enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, playing board games, and spending time with family and friends. She is also very involved in the book community advocating for LGBTQIA texts to be included in classroom instruction, posting video reviews of books on her BookTube Channel, meeting authors, and serving as secretary of her local library’s board.