What do you do? SOLC ’22 (9/31)

This is likely a question you have been asked or you have asked of someone else. “What do you do?” Seemingly innocent, unloaded. You simply are asking or telling what job you hold, your profession, your daily grind, what puts bread on the table. But really, what do you do? What do I do? This question has evolved for me over the years.

“What do you do?” (March 2022 edition) I am a SAHM, just moved to Colorado, helping her family acclimate to their new home. I am an occasional runner (more walk/runner these days), avid hiker, reader and writer. I am learning all about my new city, the places I love to hike and ski and be outdoors. I am learning the best routes to take my kids to school and to music lessons and to soccer practices. I am learning my new neighbors’ names, connecting to a new community, a new church. I am finding my favorite coffee spots, spots to write, spots to reflect. I am learning the value in being present, focusing less on all I get accomplished in a day. I am learning to use my teaching abilities by tutoring a nearby neighbor’s daughter. I am about to attend my first story time as a volunteer reader at the local library because I believe in growing literacy and the love of books. Building relationships. Being vulnerable. Being okay some days and not okay on other days. I am learning it is normal to grieve loss and still be joyful in the moment. That’s what I do….

“What do you do?” (June 2021-January 2022 edition) I am a wife and mother. A teacher. A hiker and occasional runner. New Peloton-er. I have moved to a new state and I am teaching ESL at my daughter’s middle school. I love the morning commutes and evening talks in the car with her. I am a soccer mom, a swim mom, a lesson planner after hours. I unpacked everything within two weeks. We are settling in. I am helping my family get acclimated to this new life in North Carolina. That’s what I did…

“What do you do?” (June 2012-June 2021) I am a wife, a mom, a runner, a teacher. We moved to Kentucky from West Virginia. The kids were small and it was hard when we first moved. I searched and searched for a job until I really began to enjoy being a SAHM and then I became a reading intervention teacher, then a first grade teacher and then back to reading intervention. I started a running club for moms at some point and managed to train for multiple races and marathons. I learned about KY basketball and bourbon. I learned that I loved hiking and became a hiker. Led a women’s Bible study. Got connected in church. Hosted home groups. Made so many deep connections, some of my best friends to this day. During the pandemic of 2020, I wanted to reach my English learners so I pursued an ESL endorsement. I began teaching ESL students in the same district I had been teaching intervention classes. Then I began to pack our entire lives for our big move. That’s what I did…

“What do you do?” ( June 2003-June 2012) I am a new wife, a new mom, a substitute teacher, a grad. student, a new 5th grade teacher. I have a job at a local day care near my house so I can work in the evenings after I substitute teach and work on my Master’s degree. I teach kindergarten and we cut pumpkins and bake pumpkin pie. The best long term substitute job of my life! With only 10 kids! I finally get my 5th grade dream job. I work in a portable classroom (a trailer) beside a Dairy Queen. I loved every second. On to being a reading intervention teacher for my last 5 years in West Virginia. I learned so much from my colleagues at that time- how to adapt and how to teach kids, not curriculum. We had the sweetest friends who grew with us as we grew our families. We watched each other get married and have babies. Then we packed up all the baby gear and moved on to Kentucky. That’s what I did….


13 thoughts on “What do you do? SOLC ’22 (9/31)

  1. What do you do is sometimes a really heavy question. You seem to answer it with grace. I have changed the way I ask people this question to– How do you spend most days? Is there something you are really passionate about? This gives value to people rather than making people feel guilty for what they don’t do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like how you reframe the question to give people intrinsic value rather than value based on what they do or have done. Thank you for reading my post today.


  2. Nice to meet you, Annalee. I loved learning about “what you do” and I can read between the lines and infer that you are a wonderful mother and teacher, passionate about literacy, enjoy the outdoors and are dedicated to contributing to your community. YOU are the kind of person I enjoy getting to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very cool to see the evolution of your honest and all encompassing response to what is, lots of the time, sort of a tossed out question just asking for a one or two word answer. We often label ourselves with the answer to this question. Limit ourselves to where we get our paychecks from. Awesome idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my post today. I have struggled in the past with severe identity confusion. Getting my identity from what I do rather than who I truly am.


  4. What a clever way to frame a review of the past – how situations, locations change and change us. I really appreciate the way you take us back and allow us to notice the obvious and subtle shifts over time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re so right! The answer to “What do you do?” evolves as the years go on.
    I love that you posed and answered this question from all stages of your life. Good luck with the transition to your new home. We moved in Oct. 2019 and I still feel like I’m new since the pandemic really made it hard to meet new people.

    Liked by 1 person

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