How can a committed high school history teacher make such a claim? Well, this post is really about my brother. My brother is a few years younger and last year he decided to make a major change in his life. He was trained as a chef and over the past 15 years had managed to rise in the profession to executive chef in one of the largest hotel companies. For much of that time my brother was devoted to his profession and worked hard to stay on top of his craft. I’ve always admired his ability to stay cool in a profession that allows for few mistakes and demands strong organizational skills. More recently he began to grow tired of the job and worried that perhaps it was time for a change. I find that most people are content with their professions even if the payoff provides little satisfaction. That’s why I was so surprised and pleased to hear last year that my brother planned to leave his job and go back and finish his college degree. And what is he interested in doing? He wants to TEACH HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY!
This was not an easy decision for him to make. He earned a great salary and the thought of having to give up such a lifestyle could not have been easy. This past summer he completed his Associates Degree and is now enrolled in one of New Jersey’s state universities and is majoring in history with an emphasis on education. My brother loves history, but there is much to adjust to, including a classroom full of younger students, and the challenge of having to study on a regular basis. I’ve been reading a few of his papers just to help with citations and style. Though his papers need to be polished you can tell that he is hooked and is enjoying the challenge. I’m sure his professors will enjoy having him in the classroom. I have no doubt that he will make an excellent teacher.
I’ve been known to tell my students that part of the trick to figuring out the problem of life is to find a job that reflects their passion. Their tendency to concentrate on material wealth or a measure of success as dictated by their parents or society in general is the biggest roadblock to this process. In many ways my job is an extension of my personality and broad interests. It is sometimes difficult to know where my job and my passion for history come together. My brother was brave enough in his mid-30’s to take a chance and try to make that happen, and I am going to help him in any way I can. The likelihood that we will share the same profession at some point may bring us even closer together.