I think there are two ways to live the teacher’s life and that we need a bit of both of them.
The engaged teacher
This teacher engages with the life of the school, its staff, and its students. She participates in spirit days or sponsors a club; he lives within walking distance of the school or attends student sporting events and extracurricular activities.
I think this teacher gets all the good press: she’s the hero in the movie; he’s the one we can always count on.
The disengaged teacher
This teacher disengages with the life of the school for the sake of fully engaging with the life of other communities: family, faith groups, non-educator friends, clubs.
I think this teacher gets a bad rap: she must not care; he’s burned out.
Why we need to be both
If you tend toward engagement, you run the risk of being desperate for acceptance or recognition. If we don’t develop the habit of purposeful disengagement, I think we set our paths to stumbling: into burnout, into self-aggrandizement, into myopic foolishness. (Not that I would know.)
If you tend toward disengagement, you run the risk of forgetting why you teach and understanding where you teach. If we don’t develop the habit of purposeful engagement, I think we set our paths to stumbling: into burnout, into self-deluding isolation, into “in just X more years, I can retire.”