Teaching: A Career that is Purposeful, Uplifting and Meaningful

By Marjaneh Gilpatrick and Tracy Vasquez

teacher writing on a chalkboard in the classroom

It’s that time of the year: high school seniors have successfully completed their programs of study and they are ready to pursue college or careers. For some, teaching has always been a certainty. When asked when they decided to become teachers, many recall their love of working with children, always wanting to teach their siblings, cousins or neighbors during play or later as tutors and teachers’ assistants. For others who have not yet made a firm choice, consider the following benefits of choosing a program of study that leads to a career in teaching:

Purposeful

Many teachers are creative in guiding their students to develop their literacy and critical thinking skills. They provide them with authentic, project-based learning experiences to equip them with the knowledge, skills and abilities to analyze issues in their communities and encourage the creation of innovative solutions. For example, when learning about the environment, teachers can task the students to explore causes and effects of pollution and challenge them to create workable solutions. They can have the students send their proposals to the community newspaper editor and get it published.

Uplifting

Educators have power: their influence can be likened to the ripple effect of a stone when thrown into a body of water. They can instill a love of learning, thereby creating a well-versed and literate community, one that engages in civil discourse to improve everyone’s lives. They create opportunities for meaningful discussions about current issues with students that align with the academic disciplines’ topics and objective. Thereby, they are supporting students’ expression of their viewpoints and helping them articulate their emerging philosophies. For instance, in social studies, students can analyze living conditions and resources in urban communities. Afterwards, they can analyze the impact of inequities that may exist in those environments. Next, students can advocate for creating systems that provide equitable access to resources that are prevalent in affluent communities such as fresh foods and vegetables.

Meaningful

Not only do teachers model effective collaboration with one another, but they also serve as role models for establishing and nurturing healthy relationships with students, families and community members. To provide applicable opportunities for their students, they partner with families, community-based businesses and organizations to extend and enhance the school’s curriculum. By doing this, they are modeling how to collaborate with community leaders to recognize and accomplish their goals. For example, a teacher with an affinity for gardening may wish to reach out to their peers or local Habitat for Humanity about collaborating on a community garden, which can teach student about healthy living, plant life cycles and more.

Henry Brooks Adams’ quote about teachers sums up their impact very clearly: "Teachers…are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth." In this way, becoming a teacher can indeed provide one with a career that is purposeful, uplifting and meaningful.

Want more? Check out all of the articles from Teaching Tuesday and return each week for a new post. To learn more about the College of Education and our degree programs, visit our website and join in our efforts to elevate the education profession.

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