Camp Staff as Teachers: What Draws Them To Be Educators?
Last week, as I wrote a reference letter for one of our Section Directors looking to get into teachers college, it dawned on me how so many of our staff members, past and present have gone on to complete their post graduate degree in education. Summer camp is a great way to learn important teaching skills like building connections with kids, building and adapting lesson plans and addressing parents. However, the hope of finding employment as a teacher seems to become more remote each year. This begs the question, why are there so many people lining up to enter the education field?
To those who are not intimately familiar with the education field, the obvious answer is, ‘they get their summers off.’ Having known a teacher or two, I can attest that the summer off barely makes up for the planning, grading and other demands placed on a teacher’s time throughout the rest of the year. Being a teacher means that you’ll have homework – for the rest of your life. There is also the responsibility that a teacher has of continuing their education, which often carves into their summer.
Another obvious answer is that they have a great pension. Well, in order to get to the pension stage of a career, one needs to first find work. And although the teacher’s pension is considered one of the healthiest plans going, Jim Leech, the President of the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan admitted the funding for the plan is broken, which makes you wonder about its long-term prosperity.
So it’s not an easy gig to get, the time off comes with some pretty big conditions and the pension isn’t as golden as it once was. What’s drawing the hoards to teacher’s college? I can’t speak to everyone trying to make education their profession, but I believe that our staff want to be teachers for the same reasons they want to work at camp – they find the development of children important and rewarding. And they’re good at it too.
If I were to open a school with all of the staff we’ve had who are now teachers, it would be a pretty great school. It’s too bad that most of them don’t have jobs teaching in the classroom.