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Teaching, passion? Pleasure? Heartache? Supplement to income?

Updated on May 19, 2011

Ain't it the truth!

Passionate Work!

My journey to teaching came by a circuitous pathway.  I always knew I wanted to teach, but the demands of a busy life, lack of funding and other impediments left me without the necessary degree to do so. I have found it to be ironic that as a college instructor I can teach public school teachers, but if I wanted to be a public school teacher, I lack the credentials to do so. Strange isn't it?

If you watched the old movie "Mr Holland's Opus" back in the 1990's, Mr Holland, played by Richard Dreyfus, wanted to be a music writer and live in the world of this art. Instead, his wife becomes pregnant and they need him to pay the bills, so Holland imbues his students with his love for the craft and even though he continues to write, life gets in the way. When he finally retires, the entire school is there with alums from many years past and they play his "opus" for him, the one he created and set aside over the years so he could teach. Every time I watch this, I cry. Glenn Holland is a hero in his own life and he never realizes until he reviews it from the perspective of his students.

We all need good teachers, teachers who life wiith purpose and meaning and communicate that zest for life in the ways they teach their charges day in and day out. Not  all teachers are so well loved and honored in this way,That is the travesty of having to work at something you are not passionate about, just so you can get by, but not really loving what you are doing. Apparently, Mr Holland did love what he was doing as he communicated that passion through his teaching. He just did not know it at the time.

I recently took a poetry class online and my teacher introduced himself as a "poet who happens to teach". I can respect that, he is truthful. I introduced myself as a "teacher who happens to write poetry", and he went ballistic! He believed I was insulting his comment, whereas I was merely stating the truth. Teaching comes before writing and just about everything else. He did not understand that there could be people who love teaching because he believed all English teachers are frustrated writers.

Then there are those tenured professors who HATE what they are doing and just plod along making many of their students miserable. Case in point: on my daughters first day at the University of Florida she entered her science teachers classroom and heard his rant about 'how he HATED teaching undergrads and this was his last year and he was retiring!". Well, he should have not been allowed to teach! If we are that dis-enchanted with the classroom, we need to move along and offer up that spot to someone who is eager to lead the way in the course!

With the recent union busting bill in Wisconsin many of us who teach have felt scrutinized and minimized as professionals who give our lives over to imparting knowledge to those in need of instructors. If anyone teaches at any level with the expectation of making a "good living" they are sorely mistaken. Teachers do NOT make high salaries and the money they do make is not equal to the amount of work they do. Teachers do not just stand in a classroom and read the textbook (ok, maybe some do...but clearly they are not passionate about their work). There are many hours of grading, class prep, emails, and student meetings with students, or parents (in public schools) they must attend off "clock". It looks like an easy job, but do not kid yourself, it takes time management skills and self starting coordination in order to be a success.

There are jobs where you will find poor, mediocre and exceptional workers, teaching included. I have overheard the student gripes and the educators heartaches and have lived some of my own, and it is not a choice for just anyone. Lawmakers have no idea what it takes to takes to be a good educator: patience, hard work and dedication to the craft of teaching. As in many industries we must keep up with continuing education, reach out to students with empathy and do our best to live within the financial means we are provided.

Those who CAN teach....or at least try to when forced up against a wall by changes others make who have no idea what they are doing. Sounds like those lawmakers need to go back to school and learn a thing or two.


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    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Bretsuki! You could find that if you teach you will be such an inspiration to those who are in your courses! I too encourage you to go for a masters 56 I am going for my third and I intend to keep on going. Do not let a number (like age) stop you from pursuing a awaits your talents! Thanks for coming by

    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Thank BBG I too feel I am more clear writing than I am in person, however since the classroom is much like a stage, I am comfortable there and enjoy the AHA looks upon the faces of my students. I have balance both in class and online course offerings and find most people are more comfortable in writing than they are in classroom discussions. Thanks for your comment and best of luck to your sister!

    • Bretsuki profile image

      William Elliott 

      7 years ago from California USA

      Hello Aley, This hub has come at a perfect time for me. At 49 I just completed a BA degree. Several people are telling me I should teach, even though I am blind. One former professor at college is eager for me to go one for a masters degree. I can see the benefits for me in formal teaching positions, money, health benefits etc. But I also see my wife a High School Science teacher come home exhausted daily. I know at the bottom of my heart I would not be a good school teacher, maybe a college lecturer. But even then, I'd be 52 at the earliest, blind and no experience to take up a new career.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      I have the utmost respect for teachers who are obviously pationate about their job. It is a rewarding career but not one to get into if you truly don't enjoy what you are doing. I wanted to be a teacher once, but realized that I could not communicate well in spoken word what I wanted to get across. I am a much better writer. Yet, I have difficulties explaining why to do something one way because I believe in letting the creativity flow. If I want to use... I should be able to! If I want to place a - somewhere for effect - I should be able to. Of course - that isn't proper teaching practices.

      Well written hub. I know my sister wants to be a teacher and it is a struggle to get into. However, if there are so many that hate there job, I wish they would give it up so those who really want to be there can jump in.... like my sister! :)

    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Yes, many still teach that way Acer. It was not until I was in my forties that I found education to be a bit more individual and inspiring. And again yes, it needs to be properly paid, but most of us who love to do it are willing to be paid less just to be able to follow our bliss! Thanks for coming by my friend.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      My teachers in high school taught memorization and text book...I taught myself to love learning in the library and never had a lecture until I went to college....teaching is hard and until it's a properly paid profession it will not be a worthy one unless by exception as I'm enthusiastically assured by you Aley.;)


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