Throughout our many years of road-tripping, we’ve come across the whole gamut of livelihoods, and each one certainly has its fair share of joys, perks, and quirks (and potential dangers from alligator contact. Yep, we’ve seen it all). But of all the vast and varied walks of life we’ve had the privilege of observing, teaching definitely ranks high on the list of most rewarding. That’s why we’ve partnered with the folks at PivotTV and Participant Media to offer the TEACH Roadtrip, which is all about changing the world through teaching. Read on to see how teaching offers serious life-affirming benefits (not to mention, great discounts at cool businesses), and apply to hit the road with us this summer here.
1.You get to read hilarious test/homework answers that make you realize young people are sometimes smarter than adults
Kids perceive the world through an untainted lens—a lens that’s free from the scuffs of societal conditioning and really, really focused on fart jokes. Kids are not at all afraid to point out the absurdity of our societally-accepted norms, or how dumb George Washington’s hair looked. So while grading tests and homework can be tedious, it can also be eye-opening, inadvertently genius, and will often make you spit out whatever’s in your mouth with a chuckle. The adult brain would have to be afflicted with a severe head cold and hopped up on copious amounts of Nyquil to produce the kind incisive commentary on the human condition that kids effortlessly spout, and even then, we wouldn’t be able deliver it with the same kind of crayon-scribbled charm. Essentially, if you’re ever looking for the answers to existence, skip the Sartre books and just turn to your students!
2. A legitimate part of your job is getting to play with school supplies
Every year as summer draws to a close, students everywhere are swarmed with sorrow as they realize they can no longer spend every waking hour fused to a couch pressing buttons on rectangular electronic devices. The prospect of making their brains actually do stuff again is daunting, but you know what quells the anxiety? MARKERS AND GEL INK PENS. That’s right: returning to school means you have to get up before noon, but it also means you get to pick out a mountain of technicolor school supplies that you’ll use for projects and taking notes and drawing unicorns in the margins of said notes. Remember how fun it was to wander the linear aisles of Office Max? As an adult, that feeling of excitement wanes because you buy supplies for yourself and realize that stapler cartridges actually cost more than the stapler itself (wtf?). But as a teacher who gets a supply budget, you get to forever experience the giddiness of popping open a new marker. And yes, part of that giddiness might stem from inhaling the marker’s toxic fumes, but most of it is because markers are AWESOME.
3. You get heartfelt gifts from students (including enough Starbucks gift cards to take every meal there)
Every day, life surrounds us with unsolicited little gifts, like sunshine, rustling leaves, and Jennifer Lawrence reaction gifs. But when you’re a teacher, life’s gifts aren’t just intangible joys—they’re actually concrete stuff you can eat or hang on the wall! Teachers are doing the critical work of shaping young people into their future selves. As such, people (especially parents) want to express their appreciation for the fact that you’re helping the nation’s future count without an iPhone app. And that appreciation tends to come in the form of touching hand-written letters, delicious cookies, and Target gift cards. Basically, teachers get to enjoy multiple Christmases/Chanukahs/Kwanzas throughout the year. But the gifts gained from teaching are even better than the ones collected from holidays because people aren’t just giving you presents out of societal obligation or because it would be awkward to ask you to pass the gravy without at least exchanging a card—they’re giving you heartfelt tokens of thanks because you’re touching their lives. Best present ever.
4. The ability to use summer for personal growth & skill cultivation (and occasionally sleeping in)
Common myth would have you believe that teachers are completely absolved of responsibilities during summer, and spend their days watching The Price is Right in Snuggies eating cereal directly out of the box. While teachers certainly can spend a few days doing that, they’re still bound to their teaching duties during prime beach months, and they complete a multitude of work-related tasks to prepare for the coming year, including crafting lesson plans/assignments/tests, undergoing (often mandatory) training, and participating in professional development courses. While they might not be lounging at the pool every day working to get rid of their t-shirt tans, it’s still a benefit (and necessity) of the profession that teachers dedicate their summers to self-improvement so they can better serve their students and become stronger pillars of knowledge. Of course, there are still a few days free to take that jaunt to Thailand or watch every single episode of Breaking Bad in one sitting.
5. Seeing your students flourish after leaving your class
There are many avenues to job gratification, but making an indelible impact on a young person’s life definitely tops the list. We’ve all had teachers who pushed us beyond our perceived limits, challenged our preconceived notions, and ultimately made us view ourselves and our place in the world in a completely different light. Being able to be a catalyst for someone’s life trajectory is a rare reward, and now with platforms like Facebook, it’s even easier to watch that person evolve throughout life. Katrina, one of Roadtrip Nation’s curriculum writers and a former teacher, had the privilege of watching a student come into her own and go on a Tom’s trip to Guatemala after she realized that a big part of her life happiness is rooted in helping others. That student is now harnessing her passion for helping others and directing her efforts towards (drum roll please…) teaching! There you have it: Impact begets impact begets more impact…and pretty soon the world starts to change. That’s what teaching’s all about.
Apply here to road trip across the country and interview these awesome educators.