8 Reasons Teaching is the Best Career if you Love Travel and Adore Life

It’s no secret that teaching has been good to me. I spent 21 years in classrooms in various countries and have had many experiences throughout my teaching career. Here, Lillie Marshall from TeachingTraveling.com explains some of the reasons becoming a teacher might be a wise career move for you if you enjoy travel.

Lillie Marshall volunteering in Ghana

Lillie Marshall volunteering in Ghana

Are you seeking a job that will fulfill your soul, excite you, and allow you to see the world? After extensive research, I declare that teaching is the best career for these goals!

My name is Lillie Marshall and I have been a teacher in the Boston Public Schools for eight years. I also love life and adore travel, and my teaching career is a perfect match for these passions. Here is why a teaching job could be a match for you, too:

1. Abundant vacation days. Make no mistake about it: We teachers work our tails off, but in return, we have more vacation days than any other career. Sure, I teach 150 kids a day (five classes of thirty 7th graders) and spend most of my evenings and weekends grading, but how many other working folks in 2011-12 spent: a week in December in Spain, a week in February in China, a week in April in Greece, and two summer months abroad? I did!

2. Free money to travel. You know those trips to Spain, China, and Greece that I mentioned? They were all free for me because of teacher travel opportunities. China was free because I was chaperoning a student trip of 42 Boston teens, Greece was a teacher tour that I got funded with a grant, and Spain was a teacher training that came with the China trip. There are more grants out there to help teachers travel free than there are for any other profession.

Lillie Marshall in China

Lillie goofs off with a student in China

3. Salary and stability. Even when I don’t use grants or programs for free teacher travel, I still have no problem seeing the world because of my job salary and stability. Obviously, teachers don’t get paid huge heaps of dough, but we do make a relatively solid wage which can be stretched well with a little planning and economizing. I spent five summers in Latin America volunteering and taking Spanish classes using the money I saved simply from not having a car.

4. Happiness and Fulfillment. After five years teaching, I took a one year leave of absence to travel and write full-time. During that year, I pondered whether I might leave teaching for good and dive into another career. I experimented with several different job options, but quickly realized: few careers give such a sense of fulfillment, excitement, and contribution to society as teaching. Sure, the vacations are great and the pay is stable, but what really draws me to teaching is how wonderful it is to be able to help young people learn and grow!

5. Exploration and active, constant learning. If you’re a person who loves to travel and adores life, you probably like things that are fun, creative, and on-your-feet. Teaching gives you all that! I love designing new lessons, engaging students in heated discussions about a text, and spending my days bouncing around instead of sitting in a cubicle.

Lillie in Ghana6. Experiencing the world without leaving home. Even if you don’t decide to travel on teacher vacations, teaching can give you experience with hundreds of different cultures from the comfort of a single classroom. In each of my classes, I have students from at least five different continents and fifteen different countries. The details I’ve learned from them about their cultures and ancestral homes are fascinating. When I finally do get to visit their countries (Vietnam, Ghana, Brazil, and more), students are so excited, and I bring with me the knowledge they’ve imparted.

7. A purpose for your travel. When I go on a trip, I love to share it with people (don’t you?), and as a teacher, I have a built-in audience! Every trip becomes professional development which enhances my curriculum. During our memoir unit last year, I shared with students the true life stories I had created with students during my three months volunteering in Ghana, and my Boston kids were inspired to read experiences of kids their own age, living across the ocean in West Africa.

8. Universal need. Finally, it’s delightful to know that everywhere on Earth needs teachers. You are guaranteed to find a paid or volunteer position someone, eventually. This provides wonderful life flexibility, both in finding summer positions and in moving locations.

So what do you think… Could teaching be a good career for YOU?

Lillie Marshall is a Boston teacher and Travel Blogger at www.AroundTheWorldL.com and www.TeachingTraveling.com. She tweets at @WorldLillie and runs the Education Bloggers group.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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5 Responses to 8 Reasons Teaching is the Best Career if you Love Travel and Adore Life

  1. Rick June 6, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    I was wondering about the status of your Colorado Trail adventure. Is it still on or is there a postponement? Just checking. Thanks.

    • Nancy June 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

      @Rick, “We” are on the trail now – except for me. I made it 50 miles, but my hip couldn’t handle the descents. I was fine on the uphills and flats, but couldn’t do the downhills. I’ve officially bailed now and will be making my way back to Idaho in time. John and the boys are still on the trail and are planning to make it all the way to Durango.

  2. Ginger October 22, 2014 at 3:46 am #

    Hey Nancy,

    I completely agree with every last reason you give. Teaching has been one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve had, even though I only hae time to do it part time these days. When I am not teaching I work at Teaching Nomad and help other people’s dreams of teaching abroad become reality.

    I was wondering whether you had a favorite age group, and if this changed over the years? My personal favorites are 10 to 12 year olds.

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel October 22, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      @Ginger, Well done, Ginger! Teaching overseas was good to us in so many ways. I am thrilled that you are helping others figure out how to do it.

      As for me – I’ve taught all ages, but I think my favorite is the Grade 4 – Grade 8 range. Those kids are big enough to do some pretty amazing stuff, but haven’t yet developed “the attitude.”

  3. Dan@ghanatripsandtours October 5, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    As a teacher myself right here in Ghana, i can confidently say that you have written so well about the topic. But in most part of Africa, the pay is not that great and converting for example the income from teaching in the local currency to say the united states dollar doesn’t make things any better. That aside, it’s a very fulfilling profession and so it’s something you should consider when you get to travel especially to Ghana West Africa.

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