Real jobs

I once attended a conference session for outdoor educators dedicated to coping strategies.

This session was not about the kind of coping strategies you might normally think of first. These coping strategies were about how to stay working in the field of environmental education.

I sat back and listened as the session facilitator engaged outdoor educators in a conversation about resources they use and what they do when their seasonal work ends. As I looked on, I began to hear that all-too-familiar rant starting up in my head again.

Why does it feel that to be a teacher you need to be with someone who has an income in another field or need more than one job?

Why do you need to be married to be an interpreter or an environmental educator?

Do not misunderstand me. I am not against marriage. I am resisting a reality that I observe repeatedly, and now I am thinking about it aloud.

The individuals I listened to during this session were young, energetic, and passionate educators who were very good at what they did. I know because I observed them working in their element throughout this two-day conference held at an outdoor residential camp. While this energetic group of educators shared resources generously with each other, I could feel that some of these passionate educators were on the verge of leaving environmental education to get a “real” job.

What might encourage them to stay?

Tania Marien