A Lesson for my Students

While waiting for me to start the review session for their upcoming exam, one student asked, “So why are you a teacher?”  “You mean my motivation for teaching?” I asked.  “No, I mean, didn’t you say you were a physical therapist?  So I’ve been wondering why you’re a teacher,” he clarified.

Oh how I loved this question.  I explained that yes, I went to school for PT but that I figured out in my sophomore year that I didn’t want to do PT as my major anymore. And what I sensed but couldn’t quite articulate at the time was that it wasn’t so much that the courses didn’t interest me.  It was that so many other courses interested me and I couldn’t take them.  I wanted to take languages, and philosophy.  I wanted to study abroad.  This was all difficult if not impossible to do in the strict pre-professional program I was in.

I gave my students the abbreviated version.  I told them how my entire physical therapy class knew I didn’t like the program, but that when we graduated I was just one of two students with a job in the field.  I told them how I cried every day when I came home from that part-time PT job and eventually quit after just two months.

“You didn’t like it?” Ryan asked.  “Well, it was just that I wanted to do all these other things,” I explained.  I started listing the things I’ve done since then.  “I’ve been a park ranger, worked for the census, did a year of volunteer work.”  “How old are you?” Caitlin asked.  “You don’t look a day over 25!”  I love when they say that:)  “33,” I answered.

“So is teaching your favorite thing?” Maria asked.  “Yes, I do love teaching.”  I went on to explain, though, that I will probably never do it full-time – that there’s nothing that will interest me full-time.  That the longest I’ve held a full-time job is 18 months.  “So will you keep teaching?” Caitlin inquired.  “Until I get bored with it,” I said.  I wished my lectures on anatomy and physiology held their attention like my words did at that very moment.  They were fascinated.  “Well, actually,” I said, “next year I’m going to live at a Folk School for four months and take classes in blacksmithing and basket making and writing and stuff.”  They stared at me with gaped mouths.  “Oh – and I want to do this pilgrimage walk across Spain next year too.”

“You’re all over the place!” Ryan said.  That used to be an insult to me, but now it’s a compliment.  Exactly!  I’m all over the place!  How wonderful is that?  Look at all the things I’ve done, all that’s still ahead of me.

One thought on “A Lesson for my Students

  1. Pingback: Me? An Introvert? | RenaissanceRebecca

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