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:
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.
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.