— Zac Chase (@MrChase) February 10, 2016
I am a loser of self.
In middle school I would read books during class. I would sit there while all of the other kids were doing their work, and I would read Michael Crichton or John Grisham. When I wasn’t reading, I was actively trying to sabotage the lessons in my Spanish or Science classes. I would often be thrown out of class for these disruptions, but no matter. In my mind, “Middle School Doesn’t Count.”
I am so glad that I lost that self.
As a teacher, I wanted my kids to have access to all of the tools they needed. We would schedule large blocks of time in the computer lab. We would check out the laptop carts whenever we could. I kept my old teacher laptop when I was issued a new one so that we could have one more dedicated machine in the classroom whenever a student needed to use it. When I was told that there were other teachers in the school who did not have regular access for their students, I was incredulous. I didn’t want to give up my access for someone else’s equity.
I lost that self too.
In my daily life, I am passionate about the work. I talk about classrooms and schools incessantly. I build prototypes of projects and systems for teachers and leaders to use. I record my thinking out loud on videos. I can write endlessly on the improving professional learning. Because of this ever-present passion, I struggle to ask about people’s lives outside of the work. I do not inquire about their children without great effort. I do not request information (or offer it) about weekend plans unless provoked to do so by someone else.
I am working to lose this self too.
I have lost more selves than I care to count, and in each iteration, I have found more to lose. I am not tied to who I was, but rather who I will become. It is both much easier and much harder that way. It is easier because I don’t have to keep all of the baggage of my middle school or high school self with me as I make decisions as a father. It is harder because I am constantly questioning “who” is making those decisions and whether or not I could be better.
The last self I lose will be in my death, and I hope that the last one is best self of my life.