Why do I teach?

Installment #2:

Time to get a little real about the benefits and joys of teaching:

  • Guaranteed breaks, holidays, and weekends

I am guaranteed every major holiday, and every weekend, which, in the United States in particular, is incredible.

I work hard. I work long hours. I’m exhausted. Nevertheless, I know that I get days away from work–guaranteed.

I know that if I want to spend a national holiday somewhere, I can do it. I know I have every weekend to run errands. I know that I have a week or two break in the middle of the year built into my schedule.

I earned these days, and I have to take them, which in the United States in particular, is a definitive perk.

I have friends that barely have two weeks worth of paid vacation and/or sick days. I have friends who never get a chance to use their paid time off, and then lose those days. When it’s not demanded or required, it’s not used. Paid leave–in all its forms–is a privilege. So, I love and cherish breaks, weekends, and holidays; they’re definitely a bonus. It’s not why I chose teaching, but as I get older it’s definitely an enticing reason to stay in teaching.

 

Why do I teach?

Why do I teach? This is a multi-dimensional, evolving question that cannot be answered in a single post; so, let’s start with the first three things that come to mind.

I teach because:

  • it’s my passion
  • it’s fun
  • it’s rewarding

Teaching is a special line of work.

I picked teaching, initially, because I thought I was going to be a professor someday–and that someday could still happen, it just doesn’t seem to be in my near future.

I picked teaching in the K-12 setting because I wanted to make sure I enjoyed teaching, and could teach, before I pursued teaching at the highest academic level (university setting).

The good news: teaching became my passion, and it’s fun, and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Who teaches?

Since learning can happen beyond the school setting, there are many people outside of a school that are actually teaching.

So, besides teachers and school staff, who teaches?

Within the family and community experience, children learn from:

  • parents
  • guardians
  • aunts/uncles
  • grandparents
  • siblings
  • cousins
  • coaches
  • neighbors
  • babysitters/nannies

. . . and this list is not exhaustive. This is a sampling of a child’s most likely, and most immediate circle.

Children are sponges–they are learning from cashiers and sales associates while we are shopping; they are learning¬†from waiters and waitresses while we are dining at restaurants; they are learning from our friends while we are visiting our friends.

It takes a village, there’s a village at every school, and a village surrounding us. Take advantage and appreciate every person that is contributing to our own, and our kids’ education.

Where can I learn?

A school is not the only place for learning. In fact, it is hardly the only place where children, and adults, can gain new knowledge.

Learning happens at:

  • museums
  • zoos
  • playgrounds & parks
  • theaters
  • galleries
  • festivals & fairs
  • parties
  • summer camps
  • national and state parks
  • aquariums
  • farms
  • libraries
  • community centers
  • grocery stores

. . . and this list is not exhaustive.

Perhaps it’s the primary origins of my teaching career, but I have seen, and I have capitalized, on the most random teaching moments.

There is always something to learn. There is always something to teach.

Everywhere, children are learning social norms, basic etiquette, and manners. If they attend events or places that teach them about other cultures and history, they are learning new norms and customs as well as gaining a more global perspective.

Learning is not just reading, writing, and arithmetic. When you go somewhere, look around and see the potential in your visit–maybe it could be the next great field trip or unit of study!