Teaching with purpose

Mind Like Water

There is a difference between a job and a vocation. A job is simply something you do to earn money. A vocation is something deeper. It is a calling. It is part of your identity and your sense of purpose.  The journey to discovering your vocation can be a long winding road. Mine has taken many twists and turns, but I feel like I am truly living out my vocation as a biology professor.  Each day I get to share  my passion for science with my students. I get to help them (well, most of them anyway) to reach their educational goals and to find their own career paths.

Teaching gives me the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life and to impact their lives in a tangible way. In my last post I talked about how I love to teach non-traditional students. My mom was a nontraditional student, so it gives me great joy to help someone out in a similar situation. Teaching also gives me an opportunity to exercise my mind. There are always new things to learn and there are always new challenges to confront.  Is it all puppies and kittens? No, but knowing that I am doing something that I truly love helps me to get past the things I don’t like, like the mundane paperwork and “challenging” students.

I have some colleagues who don’t share my passion and sense of purpose. They didn’t really intend to teach, but kind of ended up in the position by default. Some are actually great teachers, but they are unhappy. It wears on them. The little things that I find mildly annoying, drive them crazy. Others are miserable, they do the bare minimum, and they take it out on their students.

What is your passion? What do you love to do? Are you living out your vocation or are you simply working for a paycheck?

5 signs that you love your career:

– You wake up each day excited for the work ahead

– You finish the day feeling like you have made a difference in the world

– You don’t care if you get paid well below the national average for your chosen career field

– You find yourself trying to get other people to consider it as a career

– You feel like there is a world of opportunity ahead of you

5 signs that you are on the wrong career path

– You dread going to work

– You are completely drained by the end of the day

– You are deeply offended by the small amount of money that you get in turn for your sacrifice

– You spend a lot of time warning others of the pitfalls of your career path

– You feel trapped

What can you do if you feel like you are in the wrong place? Take time to reflect on how you got there. Read some good books on career planning and finding your passions (Quitter by Jon Acuff is a good one). Know that life is constantly moving and changing, and you have to power to make choices that take you down a different path.




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