Actively Discourage

Would you actively discourage your children or students from pursuing a profession?

I have a colleague, a fabulous teacher, who shared that he discouraged his children from pursuing teaching. For big and familiar reasons: too high-stress, too low-pay, too low-respect. For children with maturity, intellect, and ambition, he feared it would be demoralizing.

As he put it, “We are losing many of the best future educators, which is downright scary.” He’s not the only one – comments were filled with agreeing teachers, and I’ve heard from many colleagues who actively argue their passionate students out of pursuing music education.

I have a few more years before my own sons start thinking about college and careers, but at present I cannot imagine discouraging them from following their own course. Teaching, music, technical theater, dance, engineering, political science, business: if it’s what you’re passionate about, and you’re willing to work hard, there is no question that you will find fulfillment. (Read Jed’s Laws of Success).

As I heard it put recently, “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.”

Moreover, we need the best to become teachers. We are squandering our children’s potential. We are manufacturing a teacher shortage through political attacks and monetary games. We need them to join the fight to improve teacher respect, pay, and quality. We need them to take the baton and teach the next generation.

Also: if you tell smart young people that they shouldn’t become teachers, isn’t the takeaway that teachers aren’t smart? (i.e., “If they were smart, they wouldn’t have become teachers.”)

Here are the two articles my friend posted recently. I don’t disagree with him on any of the reasons why he tells smart young people not to become teachers.

I just think the only way to solve them is by encouraging more smart people to become teachers, not discouraging them.