Teaching is a calling, but is anyone answering?

woman reading book to young child

From our Educator Guest Blogger Series

We have all heard this statement many times ... Teaching is a calling. We have seen teachers who have been called and teachers who are just there for the check. We have worked with teachers who have been called and teachers who are just there for the check. To be honest, I have been that called teacher and that check-earning teacher. Sometimes, in the same week!!

All educators feel this way at some point in their careers. I would even think those feelings are especially prevalent in the different times that we are living in now.

I have worked in public education for 33 years, but my teaching experiences began when my younger brother was born. I was in kindergarten when Michael was born and as I learned things in school, I would teach him. He would crawl into my lap and say “read me to me” and for the 1000th time, I would read "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go" by Richard Scarry. I still have the first page memorized! He is one of the smartest people I know and I take full credit!! Just kidding!

I always enjoyed playing school and reading to younger children. I babysat and always read books to my children. Bowman did not have a library, so the Orangeburg County Library would send the Bookmobile to Bowman twice a month. I loved the Bookmobile and always dreamed of driving it one day to bring books to everyone. 

Education was a natural choice and I enrolled in Clemson to major in Elementary Education. I was blessed to be able to obtain my Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling at Clemson after I completed my undergraduate degree. I was excited to begin teaching, my calling.

My first teaching job was back at home, teaching third grade. Those poor children!! I wish I could go back and do that first year over. It was tough and I surely did not know what I was doing. I had awesome mentors who really pulled me through that first year. That year made me doubt my calling, it was that hard. I made it, however, and my students made it. I taught third grade again, first grade, and PK (4-year-olds). Those PK students were my babies! If teaching was my calling, those babies were my heart and soul. I spoiled them so rotten! We had a big rocking chair in our classroom and I spent many hours just rocking, reading, and singing!!

After several years as a PK teacher, my principal asked me to move to guidance. That was a quite different experience than being in the classroom. It was a valuable experience, but it was not my calling. I wanted to have that “teacher joy” again. I decided to return to school and fulfill that childhood dream of being a librarian. I have not had a chance to drive the Bookmobile yet, but who knows? It may be in my future!

I have been blessed to work in my hometown school since I started teaching. I now have the privilege of reading to, teaching, and spoiling the children of my former students. It is a blessing and gives me so much “teacher joy” to see my former students and their children. I know I was called to be a teacher because of the joy it gives me. I love my students and I miss them so much!

It is hard to believe that it will soon be a year since our world came to a stop and our “new normal” began. Teaching has been hard and extremely frustrating this past year. Virtual school cannot completely fulfill the need that teachers have for learning and for their students. We need interaction and hugs and high-fives. The call is still there, it is just done through Zoom, Teams, or Google Meet!

Which brings me to my question...are there young people who feel the call to teach? Are they listening to the call or are they listening to those who put education down for whatever reason? Are there older people who feel the call but think they are too old to teach? My hope is that whomever feels called to teach, they listen to that call. That call will bring frustration, but will also bring immense joy when that student learns to read or writes a winning essay or wins an oratory competition! That is a feeling of joy, pride, and love ... a calling!


Karen Wimberly is the Librarian at the Bethune-Bowman PK-12 Campus in Orangeburg County, SC, where she’s worked her entire 33-year career. She has a daughter currently in graduate school at S.C. State University studying to become a Speech Therapist. Ms. Wimberly loves sports, especially Clemson football, and she also enjoys traveling and reading. Ms. Wimberly may be reached via karen.wimberly@ocsdsc.org; Twitter: @karenwimberly1; and Instagram: karen.wimberly.

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Note: This guest blog does not necessarily reflect the views of ETV Education.