My career path since high school was pretty well laid out for me. I earned my degree in business and then invested two more years of my life in school to get my Certified Management Accountant designation. Why? I liked math, and it seemed like a logical choice. I knew that job opportunities in a booming Alberta would be plentiful.
At the point when Dalene and I began pursuing our dream to travel, I was the Controller at a small oil and gas services company. I was doing well, I enjoyed my job, but of course, the open road was beckoning. We had made the decision that a change in our lives was necessary, and I sadly, but eagerly, left it all behind.
Fast forward almost two years from my last day of work, and I have been putting my math skills to use again, but in a totally different capacity; instead, beyond my duties volunteering at the Sandy Bay Alternative School in Roatán, I have also been a substitute teacher for both math and language arts.
Never, in my days as a young corporate climber, could I have projected that this was even a possibility for me. But, like nearly all occurances of change in my life, it has been a great experience.
It is also a very different experience. I have taught a bit before – I’ve given countless presentations on Excel training, on how to become a lean organization, and on how to create a balanced scorecard – but that was to adults. Not to kids.
Kids have attitudes. Some are eager to learn, others are annoyed to even be there in the first place. Instead of having adults who pay to attend a course and truly want to further their knowledge base, these kids are forced to be at school. And, of course I can relate to them from my days as a student. There are days when school was just an annoyance, a nuisance, and it was against all reasoning that I would actually have to use permutations and combinations at some point in my life.
So when I got the lesson plans from their teachers, I embraced the subject matter and tried to make it fun for the kids. In language arts, we talked about current events to gear them up for a lesson on writing news stories. Not only did we talk about the earthquake in Japan or violence in Libya, we touched on Lady Gaga and Charlie Sheen, and how to write good headlines. One girl discussed current events going on in Honduras and ended up teaching me. The kids then presented some poetry and I made them recite it as rap stars – it was a huge hit.
They were learning, at least I think they were. And it went fairly smoothly, barring a couple of incidents that resulted in some minor discipline.
At the end of my three days of teaching, I was exhausted. I don’t know if I could do this full time, and I sure have a new respect for people that do.
Numerous kids commented about wanting me to teach full time. So then I had to wonder: do they really like me, or is it just because I was a change from their regular teachers? I know the other teachers, I am in their classes a couple times a week as an aid, and they are great educators. Would the students think the same of me if I was a full time teacher? And if I was, and then had a substitute fill in my place for a few days, would they also want him/her to take my place?
Like the adjustment in my life from accountant to traveler, these kids embraced the change I brought to the classroom, with gusto. And while I don’t want to discredit how uber cool and fun I obviously was (ha), I must also give credit to one of life’s basic principles: change is good, whether big or small.
I’ll probably never be a teacher. But I also know I won’t return to the corporate accounting life either. Instead I am choosing to embrace whatever change comes next.
Change is always good. I can’t really articulate why it’s good… but I know for me personally change is necessary. Whether it’s a new career, or a new location, or a new skill learned. I think in a way, that’s how you know you’re alive. When you, yourself, and the things that surround you are continuously changing.
jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..My Solo Traveling Moments in Cartagena
I love it Jill, thank you for the wonderful comment. I know you guys can relate 😉 It certainly is a feeling of being alive.
Pete – I’ve always thought you’d make a great teacher. Now you have street cred!
I’ve thought about the same thing (whether kids liked me just because I was new), but I’ve also learned that once I am really my SELF in the classroom, that they really do like you beyond the novelty.
Be yourself wherever bro, and you will do well in ANY venture.
Teri recently posted..Scrapbooking Re-Cap
Aw, thanks Ter. Great advice as always 😉
Such a great principle to adopt, as it’s amazing how much of the world doesn’t adopt it. The last year has been full of change constantly. There’s been a certain thrill to it, mixed with being anxious and nervous, but I’ve always embraced it. Sometimes it hasn’t been easy, like choosing to put traveling to new places on hold after being so set that that was what I was supposed to do. Love reading things like this.
Spencer Spellman recently posted..Travel…Like it Was Back in the Day
Thanks Spencer. It certainly is a plethora of emotions that comes with change as you put above, but embracing it is what’s key. Glad you enjoyed the read and best of luck with your changes!
Love this post. Jill was probably right to not tackle explaining why change is good, but I will try it anyway.
Change is good because it breaks the schema – shakes us out of the daze that we can be lulled into and provides an excellent opportunity to examine our routines. I am not saying that routine isn’t healthy, Kent and I’s life would not be possible without routine. However, it is important to examine even healthy routines.
I love that you are using your skills in a new way. This is something we are passionate about – encouraging people to do what they are passionate about and find ways to leverage their skills for good. I think it is awesome that you are doing that!
The NVR Guys recently posted..Travelogue – feeding our guilt in Boston
Agreed, our life wouldn’t be possible either without routine, but I like how you put how it is important to examine these healthy routines. So true.
Thanks so much for your kind words. It feels great to be pursuing something that I am passionate about. Cheers!
Teaching really is a thankless job, it is great to see you doing it and enjoying it.
Oh the same note as a lot of your readers, travelling really is what I would love to do, but until everything lines up for the wife and I, I stick to blogging and what pays the bills, IT work.
Keep making us all jealous Peter, you are great at it 🙂
Justin Hamlin recently posted..Epic Road Trip 2011- The Victory Lap
Totally understood, as I’ve certainly been there. You just have to be happy in what you are doing. If you aren’t, change something right? Cheers Justin!
So great to see you pursuing a path you love – even if at times, you don’t know exactly what that path is. Life is too short to do something you don’t love for all the wrong reasons!
Kirsten recently posted..Wolfgang Puck and Gratefulness in Washington DC
Totally agree. Life is way too short. Didn’t have the passion like I do now. Travel has given me the freedom to find these new passions (teaching, cooking etc) and I’m loving it!
Ironically, my degree is in accounting as well. I still have a full time on the IT side of the job but travel has been my passion for years.
Right on Jeremy. I keep telling myself that the accounting background will be good to have in my back pocket for future knowledge, but I just can’t see myself in that line of work again.
I love it! Straight from the heart and I love hearing those kinds of stories. I remember that picture very well. I was glad I was there. The feeling I got from everyone was sadness but also happiness you were moving on to explore your dreams.
I love these photos Jeff. We had trouble choosing which one to use, of course we went with the silly one. No regrets though, it was sad to leave the peeps, but we’re living the dream bro.
When I was little I would change my bedroom around and feel sparkly and new. Now that I am an adult, I quit my job and go to Europe on a motorbike. Po-tay-to, Po-tar-to! ;D
Awesome. Funny admission, I’d do the exact same thing (switch around bedroom), and quite often. 😉
Financial planning degree here. . . I have often wondered why many people are so poor at change? Yes it is scary and can be unsettling but it really is a necessary part of life and with the right attitude can be tackled resulting in a positive outcome. I don’t think you ever go through change and not come out the other side a better person. . . That is unless you don’t embrace it.
This is an important concept and I thank you for making us all think about it.
Debbie – European Travelista recently posted..Wine Tasting in Paris with O Chateau!
So true Debbie. The key really is embracing it. I don’t I’ve heard too many people regret changing their lifestyle from something they are unhappy about. Thank you for your kind words, appreciated!
You are a teacher already! You are teaching the world your travel experiences through you site! Life is about growing and changing. When you stop doing that then you cease to exist.
Tai@TraveltoStLucia recently posted..St Lucia Weather-View the forecast for weather in St Lucia
so true, thanks. When you stop growing and changing, it might not be so fun anymore 😉
Great post! Figuring out how to go with the flow is half the battle. Looking forward to reading about where this takes you.
Alexis Grant recently posted..One Way to Save Money for Your Leap
Thanks Alexis, who knows where this could lead right? But that’s the fun part. I am learning so much through these experiences. It’s incredible.
Enjoyed the article! It is amazing the way that life can throw changes as we go… I’ve learned that myself.
Look forward to your next update soon!
Gene Bowker recently posted..Images along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Right on, glad you enjoyed and have learned this lesson yourself. It really is amazing what changes can happen if you roll with them and embrace them. Cheers!
Thank god for travel for teaching us this one very important aspect of life. Change is life and those who thrive are the ones who learn how to adapt.
I aboslutely love change and can’t stand it when things are the same for too long. That’s why after a couple of months in one place I’m itching to go again.
I’m a teacher so I know how exhausted you get. It is a tough yet rewarding job. Good for you for making a positive impact on your students. they will remember you for a long time.
Caz Makepeace recently posted..Ben Harper- Burn One Down With My Own Two Hands
Love your quote from above “Change is life and those who thrive are the ones who learn to adapt”. So true.
I tell you I was exhausted after only 3 days. So much respect for the hours that must be put in to do this for 10 months of the year…. I loved it though and hope the opportunity arises again.
I hope they remember me 😉 Thanks so much for your kind words Caz, truly appreciated.
Congrats on this big change! I, too, was on a set path since high school — and then I hit the road after losing my job in ’08. I’m back at work but am so excited about what the future holds. Because I know it will include a lot of long-term travel!
Well congrats to you too then! Sounds awesome that you can work and travel.. Score!!
I’ve never done any teaching – not to kids or adults…I reckon teaching children would be really difficult! But it’s probably incredibly rewarding and fun at the same time. It’s funny how we all end up in the careers we do. John has a similar story about how math led him to engineering.
Andrea recently posted..Five Course Tasting Menu at Bodega Ruca Malen Mendoza
I really don’t know what led me to accounting. I went thru high school and didn’t know what the hell i wanted to do. It was almost I was pressured into making a decision, so I just chose accounting because I was good at math.
Now I have no regrets in the path I chose because the accounting route has gained me a lot of positive attributes. But it is refreshing now to know that I will not be venturing back into that field…
It was a little difficult teaching the kids the actual curriculum, but the practical world stuff I think was easy and they really seemed to enjoy it.
Great post! I agree wholeheartedly that change is good. One of the reasons I travel is because I love the unknown and I embrace change. I’m also good at math so I went the bookkeeper route. This post has made me think that maybe math would be a good subject for me to teach overseas also. Thank you! 🙂
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Awesome. Best of luck possibly finding a teaching opp wherever you end up 😉 I am really overwhelmed with all the great comments on this post about how travel has helped lots of people embrace change in their lives. I’m lovin’ it!
This kind of thought keeps popping in my mind recently. I’ve read similar stories of people leaving their corporate life to pursue their dream to travel the world. But you managed to point out the most fundamental thing: change is good. Nice writing!
Bama recently posted..Dvarapala- The Guardian Statue
Very cool 🙂 I myself don’t think I could ever be a teacher, especially in math!
Happy to hear you are happy and life is good 🙂
Cailin recently posted..Favorite Film Friday 014
Thanks Cailin! I’m with you – I don’t think I could ever be a teacher too. I tutor, no more than a couple of kids at a time, and that is plenty for me! Pete obviously has more patience… 🙂
Cool post. I was a substitute teacher in another life. Then I realized I could never spend 20 years in the same classroom and then retire. Working with kids is fun, but the thought of never leaving the classroom frightened me.
Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..LA In Songs
Yeah, I couldn’t do it, that’s for sure. I have even shied away from the substituting…I don’t know that I could handle even a full day of it!
I left corporate Canada over ten years ago. I relate to your teaching story. I’ve been working with at least 100 personalities a semester for the past ten years here in Korea. There is never a dull moment!
Nancie recently posted..Wanderfood Wednesday — Satay Celup — A Signature Dish from Malacca
Thanks Nancie, I agree with teaching the students will keep you on your toes. I haven’t had a dull moment yet either.
Great post, Peter. I completely agree- some times the best things that happen to me, happen when I’m open to change and the possibilities that brings.
Thanks Jade! I can’t imagine what our lives would like today if we hadn’t chosen to embrace it….
being in a phase of totally questioning my educational background as the basis for what job I should do next, I can totally relate to this post.
I had just got my CFP designation in 2009 when I first got laid off, and have been laid off twice since then. This is not all bad, since I’ve been able to go traveling on extended periods of time in each of these circumstances… but as open as I am to what’s next, it is still difficult to deal with the anxiety of an unknown future.
thanks for sharing!
Anita recently posted..Please- Don’t Be A Pretentious Traveler Part II
We go through periods of extreme doubt and anxiety about what is coming next too. Thank goodness they seem to be at different times, and one of us can talk the other down from it! We’re getting much better in just trusting that everything will work out…which it has done so far.
Pete, the kids are so lucky to have you 🙂 I love that story you were cursing with one of them in the game, ehhehehe
Dina recently posted..Best of Australia by Travelers Around the World
Haha, yes, we’re waiting to see if that makes it into our “video”!