Saturday, December 13, 2014

Some [Surprisingly Positive] End of the Semester Thoughts on Being a Teacher

This semester is nearly over. It's not over yet, but it almost is over, and almost is...Well, let's just say I have had a lot of experience with almosts lately, and almost is... Well, it's much better than some of the alternatives.

Teaching five classes has been a lot of work. Undeniably. There have been times I have wanted to give up, thought I couldn't do it even a second longer, wanted to be doing anything else but this. But I have continued pushing myself. I have continued working, and in spite of my self-doubt, my struggles with myself, I have almost made it to the end. I just have to keep working, and soon enough it will be all over.

With 98.5, Mr. Classic and the Saturday Night House Party, on the radio, I am pushing forward. This station has provided my soundtrack as I have sat here, in my office, for days, pouring over my students' work, trying to be fair, trying not to get frustrated, trying to give them honest, constructive criticism--feedback that they will hopefully use to become better writers. I can only hope that some of them will take it. I know some of them have over the semester, and I hope, eventually, those that haven't will see that I am not just pulling stuff out of my ass to fill their time, that I am actually attempting to do something meaningful, and give them advice that they will actually use in their lives, if not sooner than later.

It is now, when I should be most stressed out, most frustrated, most ready to give up and never think about it again, that I am feeling something that I am not sure that I ever expected to feel. It didn't come easily, and I have indeed been stressed out, frustrated, and depressed, but maybe this is what I should be doing. Maybe I am on the right career path, but maybe I just need to figure out a way to make it work for me. Maybe this profession is what I am meant to do for a living. Maybe this is how I should focus my job search.

If you have been following this blog, you know that I have been trying to find a full-time job. It has been a frustrating process, and, increasingly, I have started to think that I am not qualified for anything--even though I have had some responses, and have been on a few interviews. I know this is a part of the process, but that doesn't make it any easier. My bills aren't getting any smaller, and I am not getting any younger.

I have come so far and worked so hard that I owe it to myself to keep trying and keep pushing, but maybe I need to change my focus, which I have done, but maybe I have not changed it to the right focus yet. At first, I focused on writing jobs, then I focused on recruiting jobs, then I refocused on writing jobs, and lately I have been focused on whatever seems remotely close. Nothing has really worked out for me, even though I have been close. But, when searching for a job, being close is just as disappointing, maybe more-so, than not being close at all.

It's not that I haven't thought about teaching professionally. For a long time, I didn't believe in myself, that I was a good teacher. Now that is changing, now I realize that I can make a meaningful impact, and that I can do this. I just need to keep working at it, keeping building my skills, keep perfecting my approach, keep seeking a higher level of professionalism and dedication.

Maybe I won't ever make it rich, but that is doubtful anyways. I just need to make enough to pay my bills, and save a little, and with a full-time teaching position I could do just that.

As a teacher, I might get stressed at times, I might feel overworked at times, I might not always like the schedule, but at least I will be able to sleep at night knowing that I am doing something where I can actually directly participate in helping to make the world a better place.

Perhaps not all teachers do that, but some do, and I want to be one of those. I look out at society and the way people communicate, and I can see how I can make an impact. Maybe I won't reach everybody, but if I try, I can reach those that are reachable, and even reaching one person is making a difference. You never know who that one person could turn out to be, or how they could impact our world and make it a better place.

If teaching five classes at three different schools and barely making enough money to make ends meet in one semester hasn't killed my spirit, I don't know what could. Maybe I am delusional, or maybe, just maybe, I am truly cut out for this job. The world does need more good teachers, people who want to teach and want to make a difference through their teaching and not just get a paycheck, and I feel up to the challenge. I am already in the midst of it. What I need to do now is make the best of it.

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