For most educators, teaching is a calling. Educators are typically purpose-driven and they care deeply about children and their futures. Educators might know their “why” (as it has become popular to say), but that might not be enough for them to sustain a career in public education. As teacher shortages across the nation continue to make headlines, many educators are struggling to find reasons to stay in education.
Edjacent coaches use a concept called Ikigai to support educators who are experiencing challenges in their current roles. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “your reason for being.” It is often depicted as four overlapping circles that each address a question:
What do you love?
What are you good at?
What does the world need?
What can you be paid for?
The overlapping parts of the circles represent different aspects of your life: passion, mission, vocation, and profession.
When educators see this diagram, they are often clear about one or more areas of the diagram, but could be lacking in other areas. For example, a classroom teacher could be clear about their vocation (things the world needs + things you can be paid for), but are unclear about their passion (things you love + things you are good at).
This realization can be a game-changer for struggling educators. Once they discover their own Ikigai, these educators find a renewed sense of energy and satisfaction by purposefully infusing passion into their work and home lives. They can also encourage their students and fellow educators to explore their own Ikigai.
Do you know your Ikigai?