Finding Your Identity

Wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt – Teacher, coach, professor, mentor –

Reader, writer, learner, friend – Knitter, cyclist, cat lover, hiker

A person’s identity is shaped by many different aspects. Family, profession, friends, personal interests are all factors that help shape a person’s identity. Some factors may have more of an influence than others and some may not have any influence at all. As a person grows up in a family, they are influenced by many aspects of their life. A family may influence a person’s sense of responsibility, work ethic, values, religion, and many other aspects of life. Friends and colleagues may influence a person’s core values of respect for others, success, beliefs, and ideals.  Personal interests give someone the feeling of wanting to learn more about something or to be involved in something they identify with. It is who a person truly is.

Throughout the day I often feel that one part of my identity is stronger than another. Before I leave the house I am a wife, sometimes a daughter and on exceptional days a mother to my grown sons. As I enter the school building I become a coach, teacher, and learner. Those other parts of my identity are still there but often fade into the background.

Working with students I wonder how do they identify themselves. Do they think of themselves as a learner? A reader? A writer? Or are they identifying themselves as a friend, sibling, or superhero? Many of their identifying factors are shaped when they are not in the classroom with their teachers. Perhaps developed before their first day of Kindergarten. How do we begin to help them shape their identity? How do we make a student identify with being a reader when they may not even be able to name the letters of the alphabet or have any books at home on the shelf to read?

I remember my dear niece explaining to me that one of her four-year-old twins were not reading. She was just retelling the story she had heard many times before, using the pictures as her guide. I exclaimed, “She is a reader!” “She is taking some of her first steps to reading conventionally.” Sometimes all it takes is naming the identifying characteristic to a person to help them see themselves in that light. So whether it be student or colleague take the time this week to NAME the identifying characteristics you see in them to help them on their journey of finding their identity.



Identity Sketchnote Page inspired by,
The Curious Classroom, by Harvey Daniels.
2018 SOL #3


5 thoughts on “Finding Your Identity”

  1. We’ve used Georgia Heard Heart Maps to explore identity in my classroom. I love the Sketchnote idea as well. Whatever tool is used, it’s a good exercise to keep you focused on being true to who you are. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Students finding their identity is a great focus. We do indeed have many facets to our lives. I love the idea of helping students find their identity. I think choice will help students begin to find their passions. So many of my students don’t have much choice so this gives me some inspiration to help them even more in the classroom.

  3. Fascinating! And SO TRUE! I always referred to my students as writers, readers — and even geniuses — and I think it really made a difference.

  4. It’s so important for students to find their own identity. When they do, they can begin to build agency. I love your Sketch Note!

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