Nurture Your Wanderlust | Lessons Learned From My Students Vol. 1

Teachers will often tell you that they learn more from their students than their students could ever learn from them. As a first-year teacher, I can certainly attest to that statement. While I try to teach my students about figurative language and powerful voice, they never cease to teach me important lessons about the lives we live.

I’ve decided to start a series about lessons I’ve learned from my students, because there are way too many to fit into one blog post. Stay tuned for the first installment:nurture your wanderlust

Lesson 1: Nurture Your Wanderlust

If I could describe my students in one word, I would say they’re stuck. Stuck in a town with no opportunity for growth or advancement; stuck in a dangerous community. Many of them have never seen the world outside of their small town. Therefore, they don’t have an appreciation for the life they live  or the freedoms they are granted, nor do they realize the vast opportunities that are available to them around the world.

Most of my students don’t see any value in education; this is often because the environment they come from values money over knowledge. I once did a writing activity with one of my students in which he revealed to me that money, in his mind, is the key to happiness and success. Though he had a full-ride scholarship to a technical school in another state (an opportunity to pursue his passion), he turned it down and dropped out of high school because he was stuck in his ways in his hometown.

I firmly believe that, whether you travel to another state or to another country, it is imperative to nurture your wanderlust. It is too easy to become set in your ways and fail to discover the possibilities that surround you in this world.wander.jpg

Traveling can help you discover your passions and heighten your purpose.
Because I’ve traveled to Colorado, I’ve realized my love for the outdoors, hiking, and living actively. Because I’ve traveled to Spain, I’ve discovered my desire to learn about and embrace other cultures. Because I’ve traveled to Germany, I’ve gained a heightened desire to know all there is about our world’s history. Most important of all, because I’ve traveled, I’ve learned that there is a world of opportunity outside of my hometown in Wisconsin. All of these experiences have been worth more than any amount of money a job could offer me.

So, I urge you to see new places. You might realize that people have different values in other parts of the world. You might be introduced to an interest you didn’t realize existed. You might fall in love with the fast-paced feeling of a big city city, or the humility of a small town. Best of all, you might discover a new community that feels like home.






24 thoughts on “Nurture Your Wanderlust | Lessons Learned From My Students Vol. 1

  1. As I am a student myself, I have always wondered what do teachers think of classes, students and school life in general, so it is very interesting to see school life from your perspective as you are a teacher yourself. I loved this post. 🙂


  2. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. Well, I say I grew up, but I lived there till I was 9. I think I was always a little different because I had a desire to see the world. My entire family did. It’s interesting because a lot of people that I grew up with are still in the same town and there are many who haven’t traveled much. So I can totally relate to what you’re saying… I’ve learned so much from traveling and there are so many neat places to see in the US so you don’t even have to travel abroad (although I think that’s important too). I’m looking forward to seeing other posts in this series when you write them. 🙂


  3. I love the idea of this series!! 💕

    Travel nurtures the soul- & your soul is one of the top 73 things I love about you. Very well written Em!


  4. That’s a really interesting lesson to gain from the students you teach. I teach very little students (preschool)–I always hope that I’m planting seeds of love for learning that will last them for a long time even if they end up going to the kind of schools that won’t nurture that love–because it’s so important to have a natural passion for learning!


  5. I’m also from a really small town and have seen this sort of thing happen many times. It’s tough to see people never spread their wings and I only wish I could help them do so.


  6. What an awesome new series!
    I am from a small town and cannot imagine what would’ve happened if I didn’t get out after high school.
    So many people I know got into some bad things out of boredom.

    xoxo, Jenny


  7. This is such a great series. I think we are always learning things from others. I love your advice to travel too. I started school in Madison, but transferred to Arizona my sophomore year. I still wasn’t ready to come home after school, so I lived in California for a while. I decided that I missed my family and Wisconsin, so then moved home. However, had I not moved away and experienced other places, I wouldn’t have known how much I love where I am now.


    1. Exactly! I’ve lived in Wisconsin, Iowa. And Ohio. Before moving, I took Wisconsin for granted. Now that I’ve seen other places, I’ve realized how much I cherish my hometown and I hope to move back someday. However, I’m perfectly content seeing even more new places in the meantime!


  8. I wish students from rural, and usually poor, school districts had more opportunities to visit the outside world! I knew people in our county who never went passed the neighboring town in their entire lives. And yes, the kids are stuck


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