The dictionary defines teacher as one who teaches or instructs; one whose business or occupation is to instruct others; an instructor; a tutor. Yawn… that’s dry, ho-hum stuff. Clearly, teacher commands infinitely more description and depth. But what does it really mean to be a teacher?
For starters here at High Trails, it means an unknown adult has placed in your care a child who likely represents to them the most important person in the world. You are then trusted with the emotional and physical well-being of that student while negotiating the obstacles and potential pitfalls associated with our San Bernardino National Forest. BIG responsibility.
The best teachers wear multiple hats and play multiple roles each and every day: awe inspirer, disciplinarian, solid decision maker, guide, companion, friend, nurturer, authority figure, confidante, listener, lecturer, activity host, etc. The list goes on and on. Great teachers stay positive despite challenges like student misbehavior, adverse weather conditions, long days, rough nights, out-of-work problems, and more. Not an easy task by any means. But students deserve a teacher who brings the clichéd A-game day in, day out. Students’ home lives may already drag them down, why compound the issue with a grumpy, lazy, or otherwise less-than-spectacular teacher at school/camp? That’s unfair to any young person just trying to figure out how to live the American way in the 21st century.
Teachers thrive on student smiles, “wow” or “aha” moments, and facial expressions and reactions when a coyote trots nearby, among other deeply satisfying and fulfilling connections/experiences with students. These are the priceless rewards gleaned from this profession. In few jobs can an individual’s success be measured by the success of others. But teachers can actually see the results of their hard work in satisfied, happy, knowledgeable, polite and cooperative young people. Pretty sweet.
So the next time a student tests your last ounce of patience, take a deep breath, think happy thoughts and enjoy the great view our mountain classroom offers. Always remember your words and subsequent actions can hold deeply lasting effects. Choose each wisely.
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” Khalil Gibran