Most working professionals who are thinking about quitting their jobs and traveling for a year are not worried about what I’m worried about. Rational people worry about money, mortgages and health insurance. They don’t worry about actually missing their jobs. Forgoing the nine-to-five grind, unchaining themselves from the cubicle and giving the boss a certain finger on the way out the door is usually the best part of exiting corporate America to become a wandering nomad.
Due to an utter lack of common sense and an ‘I’m-not-thirty-yet’ naiveté, money is not my number one concern.
But I panic at the thought of not getting to go to work.
I’ve wanted to be a teacher my entire life and I love it. I dream about creating lesson plans. My co-workers are some of my closest friends. I get really excited whilst figuring out how to make population density fun. (If you want to know how, email me. It’s a great lesson.)
But I really love my students. This might sound crazy coming from a middle school teacher, but my kids are my sanity. For educators in urban schools, it’s often said that you – the teacher – can be the one constant in a child’s life.
But it’s the other way ‘round for me. My kids are my constant. They keep me happy, energized, and productive. My students (VERY unknowingly) got me through a divorce last year. When a doctor called my classroom earlier this year and told me “I’ll keep the office open for you, get here as soon as you can” (Health tip: If a doctor tells you this – you have cancer), I couldn’t dwell on it too much. I had to teach geography that day. I had to worry about why straight-A-Jose had failed his test, why “Nikki” had scratch marks up her arms, and why only three people were grasping the similarities between African and Australian colonization. Two days out of the hospital I was making up excuses so I could go to school and just see some of them for a minute.
So as my fifth school year ends and I (willingly) don’t have a job next year, I can only hope that traveling around the world will be half as fulfilling and rewarding as teaching has been.