“What Should I Do?” – Asks a Frustrated Teacher – Ask John #9

Hi John,

Hope you’re having a great week so far. I’m sure you’re swamped with emails, but I was reading on Blake Boles’ website that you’re taking questions.

My question is more asking for counsel than anything else. I completely enjoyed your books, and they left me wondering “What can I do?”

Testing-Call-to-Action-Buttons-in-EmailsI’m a Spanish teacher, and the program is shutting down at my school. As I’m looking I’m trying to find something that gives me fulfillment and enjoyment. This past year I’ve been throwing sand in the cogs as much as I can, but I want to do more. I feel like I have experiences I need to share, a voice that needs to be heard.

What should I do?

Are there any alternatives for teachers like me who don’t fit in the system but still want to be an “educator”?

I know that you can’t get me a job or tell me exactly what to do, but I felt like I might ask. You’ve inspired me to do all I can to stop what’s happening in schools.

Your books have changed my life. Thanks.


Morgan S.



Dear Morgan,

Please understand, that in the nature of reality, nobody on earth can help you answer the questions you ask except someone who knows you inside and out, knows your hopes and fears, your strengths and weaknesses, your region and its particular opportunities, prejudices, and proclivities.

“What should I do to find fulfillment and enjoyment?” is the question that every human being (and probably every animal) on earth asks themselves every day they are alive; obviously it has no generic answer, only intimately personal ones based on a high degree of self-knowledge.


One timeless way to approach an answer is to decide the things you are utterly unwilling to do, be that flipping burgers, joining the infantry, driving a taxi, harvesting fruits and vegetables, cleaning homes, etc.; what types of activity bring you joy–physical athleticism, talking, building, sales…and where do such activities concentrate in your area, or within easy reach?

What qualities/skills are prerequisite to availing these activities?

Is compensation for doing the activities adequate to support yourself as you wish?

Without a profound degree of self-knowledge and self-insight, you have no way to evaluate even the best outside advice.


Rest assured, Morgan, the question you ask is universal; all philosophy exists to give answers to it, science is useless––there is no one correct answer, but some methods of inquiry are more correct than others.

In my own life, I found great comfort in watching other people I admired and seeing how they answered your question for themselves; also in reading thousands of biographies and autobiographies looking for sympathetic models to emulate.


Age is another relevant factor to take into account: a 20 year old has more cushion for error than a 50 year old. With the limited data you gave, this is the best, in good conscience, I can manage, but some advice: the next person you ask this question to (and I encourage you to ask it of many), be sure to tell them who you really are, what exactly you seek, what you wish to avoid, and what your own preliminary thinking is on the matter.

Your confusion is a sign of incomplete early training and should serve as a warning to anyone assisting to educate others that these philosophical matters––which schools avoid addressing––should be central to educating anyone.

Religious training used to offer valuable council, but the progressive movement was so hostile to religion that national policy virtually killed advice from that quarter, saying that science could answer everything, but that promise has shown itself to be only another lie.

John Gatto

State Teacher of the Year, New York, 1991

“The World’s Most Courageous Teacher”

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