“Why should we care if teachers follow their travel dreams or not? Here’s one reason: if we teachers are telling students they can and should follow their dreams… shouldn’t WE do what it takes to follow our own travel dreams as well?”
Wise words from our MPG Boston Host Lillie Marshall, who followed her dream and took a year-long Leave of Absence to travel around the world after 6 years of teaching in Boston Public Schools. But that dream almost didn’t see the light of day.
“Part of what nearly stopped me from taking a Travel Leave of Absence from my job as a public school teacher was guilt. ‘What will my students do without me?’ I wondered, worry gnawing at my stomach. ‘How can you do this to us?!’ wailed my coworkers when they found out about my impending Leave of Absence. ‘Do you realize how much you leaving will screw everything up?’
Thank heaven I didn’t cave into this guilt, because the reality is: after I left, the world as we knew it at my job did NOT end. In fact, I would assert that the state of Boston Public Schools is now BETTER since my Travel Leave.”
Lillie chronicled her adventures on AroundTheWorldL and is now inspiring and assisting more teachers to travel through her new site, Teaching Traveling. Why?
1. Happiness leads to effectiveness. First and foremost, a fulfilled, happy staff is the key to an energetic, powerfully effective organization. Going into my sixth year of teaching, I was getting tired, falling into a rut, and lacking sparkle. But now, after a year away, I return to Boston Public Schools with such renewed passion for teaching! And the students and my coworkers now appreciate that.
2. Have faith in humans!The students who I left on my year-long Leave of Absence didn’t have me as an English teacher, but they ended up having a lot of other great teachers that year. If you are being pressured not to leave because of the threat that ‘everything will fall apart,’ remind folks of the reality: humans have the ability to rise to a challenge. Your workplace WILL go on, and in fact, the new configuration might even cause a positive breakthrough for the whole organization!
3. If you decide to return to your workplace after a Travel Leave, what an asset you will be! Now that I’m back in BPS, I have a wealth of new curriculum from working with students in West Africa and beyond, I have a ton of contacts for teachers wanting guest contributors to their lessons and projects, and I have a veritable trove of resources for educators wishing to follow their own travel dreams. What would BPS rather have: 7 years of a tired, un-inspired teacher who never once took time to fulfill her own life goals by taking the risk of a Leave, or a zest-filled, world-traveling dynamo, freshly back from Around the World?
Teaching Traveling profiles teachers who have traveled, shows how they have done it, and shares how the experience has benefited them. You also meet travelers who have decided to teach – many of whom are teaching English overseas.
Lillie will also be hosting a night of travel inspiration for teachers and those who have dreams of teaching abroad.
During this event, you can connect with aspiring and expert Teacher-Travelers as well as representatives from related organizations. All types of Teacher-Travel will be discussed – from short-term to long term and educational to “non-educational.” You can also learn secrets of cheap travel from a diverse, interactive panel and speakers will discuss balancing travel with raising kids, dealing with a small bank account, and having no time.
Teaching Traveling Inspiration Night in Boston
Thursday, March 31 – 6:30-8:30pm
Elephant and Castle Restaurant, Lower Level
161 Devonshire Street – Boston, MA 02110
For more information and to RSVP