“Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the “naturals,” the ones who somehow know how to teach.” ~ Peter F. Drucker
My rising high school senior wants to be a teacher. He loves teaching, coaching, mentoring, tutoring. He talks about great teachers he has had and how they have influenced him. He wants to help kids not make the mistakes he has and to discover how great books are and how much fun rugby can be. He loved teaching classes as a camp counselor. He wants to start a rugby team at a school that doesn’t have one. He has all the right motivations and all the right traits. The only schools he’s applying to are those with education programs. He understands he’ll never get rich and he doesn’t mind. His friends all say he’ll be terrific at it. I believe he will be.
And I hate it for him. Many members of my family are either current or retired teachers. I still remember the teachers who influenced my life and instilled in me a love of learning. I’ve spent 20 years doing technical training and I know the thrill of seeing students grasp a concept. But I look at schools and teachers and what this country has done to education and I worry. A lot. He’s signing on for a lifetime of being undervalued, underpaid and underappreciated. Will he love it? Probably. But what a shame that one of our most important careers to our society makes a mother wish her son would pick something else.