University students blow bubbles to prove that spontaneity in leisure is rewarding.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

I spent 35 years in the world of public parks and recreation providing clients with quality leisure experiences. The last 13 years before I retired in 2014 was spent as the aquatics director overseeing 15 public swimming pools and several sports facilities.

Back then, my Place in the World consisted of training lifeguards and staff in how to save lives, teaching kids and adults to swim and providing a cool, refreshing respite from the hot summer days found here in Central Northern California. It was also chatting with families, youth and adults about programs and activities in which they could be involved.

What is the role of a leisure educator? Simply to encourage and provide individuals with quality leisure experiences and activities to improve their skills and knowledge.

One teacher can change the world

Although I enjoyed my career in public recreation service, I knew I could contribute more to the goals of wise use of leisure time. And a little extra money wouldn’t hurt.

Following the lead of some of my colleagues, who were teaching part-time as lecturers in the parks and recreation departments at various universities, I got a master’s degree at the age of 50 and began my second career teaching students the values of leisure and sharing my 30 years of knowledge in management, communication, marketing and human resources.

What started out in 2011 as teaching one three-unit night class per semester, grew into teaching 15 units a year once I retired a few years later.

My place in the world grew to include teaching and mentoring hundreds of university students.

In the featured image at the top of the post, is my leisure education class experiencing spontaneous play by blowing bubbles on the Guy West Bridge on the Sacramento State University campus. Selfies and smiles, what’s not to love?

This past spring saw me temporarily putting aside the blog to focus my energy on creating relevant curriculum for a class new to me.

As this week marked my last class, I shared with my students that it has been an honor to be their instructor and that I am proud of what they accomplished with their assignments and quizzes. I say this on my last day of classes every semester and I am still amazed at their applause.

My reward is to see them graduate and to hear about them in the future as a recreation and leisure professional.

The last night of class, I was surprised to see a dozen students lingering around chatting among themselves. Many came up to me to thank me as well as inquire about other classes I’ll be teaching.

As we said our good-lucks and goodbyes, I recall several messages from students over the week:

“This is the only class this semester that is supporting my growth as a student!”

“Thank you for a great semester! I really think that our program will benefit from your instruction of this class from now on. You have brought a lot of valuable and relevant information to the course which will set students up for success in their future careers.”

“Thank you, professor Terri, it has been an honor learning from your courses.”

I am humbled.

Truly this is my place in the world.

I hope we can all express gratitude to those who teach our children and grandchildren, or those who teach in adult education. I worked with many dedicated and tireless volunteers who taught for free just to give back skills in photography, art, music and sports.

For those new to my blog, you may be interested in reading an older post Reconnecting with my High School Teacher.

A great teacher inspires!

Do you like these quotes? I was nominated by A Momma’s View, a long-time blogger friend, for the 3-Days, 3-Quotes Challenge. I’m cheating a bit because I have three quotes in this one post, and I won’t be able to post consecutively. Here are the rules if you would like to play along–the rules are simple:

  • Thank you to the person who nominates you
  • Post one quote per day for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

I’m nominating anyone interested in this challenge!

It is not too late to thank a teacher today!


34 thoughts on “My Place in the World as a (Leisure) Educator

  1. Hi Terry,
    We love what you do!
    Also, great choice of quote by Nelson Mandela… A picture of it hangs on our office wall

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Terri, what wonderful messages from your students. It just goes to prove that you are doing something not only wonderful but also amazing. You’re changing people’s lives for the better and putting them on the path to success. Congratulations on all you do for these students.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting careers, Terri. I also teach adults and as you see by your reaction on the last day of classes, we have a bigger affect on our students than we realize. My adult students are mostly immigrants, so I teach them English and in another class, I prepare them in Spanish for the TASC exam so they can get their high school diploma. Their appreciation inspires me to work so much harder.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I truly believe that being a teacher – despite all the hard work, responsibility and commitment, is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Reading your post reminds of how I loved to teach. The appreciation is always humbling and nice, but to see your students develop personally and intellectually is the best reward. Especially, if you somehow inspired them to do great things. Beautiful post, Terri. You obviously love what you’re doing! Have a wonderful and deserved summer vacation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Liesbet, I came from a family of educators, so staff training eventually and naturally morphed into teaching! One more week of grading a few more papers, listening to oral presentations, and calculating final grades, then, woohoo summer!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is very, very well-deserved praise from your students.
    BTW – I LOVE that you called Janis, “Donna”. That is a true honour for me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great career you’ve had (and continue to have), Terri! Your love of teaching inspires your students beyond the curriculum. Enthusiasm is just as important as knowledge. I love teaching, and I love the quotes you’ve shared. Great post, girlfriend! Happy weekend 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  7. There is NOTHING that makes a teacher’s heart sing more than to hear the gratitude of her students (or in my case, the parents of my special education students.) In fact, it is the ONLY thing that really matters – that and seeing those students become more successful later on. We certainly don’t do the job for the pay. It’s all about the kids, and shhhhh… don’t tell anybody, but if that was all I had to do was TEACH, well, I’d almost do that for free! ~ Lynn


  8. Hi Terri what an achievement to get your Masters Degree at 50! Teaching can be so rewarding and I know that you have the passion. I wanted to ask if you would write a guest post for my Over 50 & Thriving Series. I wouldn’t require it until mid June so if you are keen let me know and I can email you the details. Have a great weekend! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Terri, I am so delighted that you have found the benefits of teaching that go far beyond the paycheck. Those comments from students and their notes are part of your pay for the work you are doing. They are so gratifying. I always tell my students to write down the comments and save the little notes because those things are golden when you are having a bad day, frustrated by paperwork, or just in need of a reminder that you are doing work that makes a difference in the world.
    You are a true teacher at heart! Congratulations on the way you are helping students to improve their lives!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It must have been so satisfying to hear the expressions of gratitude from your students. It sounds like you are absolutely doing what you love… and what you are good at. Now I’m wondering why I didn’t think of making Leisure my major in college… I’m definitely an expert in that field! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

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