A Call to Help Students Find Purpose

I’ve never really thought about this, but it’s so true: one of the most beautiful parts about teaching is helping our students find their own meaning and enabling them to help others.

Each trimester, I take my students on a service learning field trip. We spend a morning volunteering at a local homeless shelter. In the afternoon, students pick up trash at a local park and do random acts of kindness. It can sound unglamorous, especially in the winter. But most students love it and look forward to it for months. Some of the most meaningful moments of my career happen on this trip. And, apparently it means something to the students as well.

After each trip we debrief the experience. It was during this that a student cried. Her words are what motivate my philosophy of teaching:

“I have never felt like I had purpose in school until today.”

Those words are both the most…

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