Back into the Classroom

When I started this blog, I wrote out my bio (which now needs to be changed) and I said that I missed teaching.

I am very happy to say that I am 7 weeks into my newest job teaching English. Not only am I teaching high school English, but I have fulfilled one of the goals on my life’s to-do list (the one I created at 17): to teach American Literature. Perhaps that makes me a nerd, but I’m a giddy nerd.

Writing is my absolute first love. When I interviewed, my now-boss asked what I would say to students who told me that they hated writing. I answered quite simply, “Writing saved my life.”

I don’t know if that’s what got me the job, or if that had any lasting effect, but I meant it wholeheartedly. Writing has never saved me from the imminent peril of having my physical life stripped from me. It’s saved my soul. Repeatedly.  When I disappear, it’s what I do. When I’m hurt, it’s what I do. When I don’t understand what’s going on in my life, I write. And I write and I write. Somewhere in that writing, things become clearer and they start to make sense. I save my writing and I re-read in the attempt to not have to re-learn life lessons.

There’s something about being able to share that every day that has been wonderfully fulfilling. I don’t dread my mornings. It’s somehow easy again to wake up at 5:37 (mind tricks I play on myself if you’re wondering about the 37). I love crafting the lessons and answering the questions. I love interacting with the students.

This is not to say that it hasn’t been without its struggles. I entered into a job where I was warned that I should expect 30-40% of homework assignments to be turned in. My students don’t read at grade level, and their writing suffers because of it.

I get gems of questions like the one today: “What’s the past tense of ‘this’? My blank stare must have been startling, and I calmly explained that “this” is not a verb.

All in all, it feels wonderful to be back in a classroom. Even on days when I’m too tired to run or would rather be home watching baseball. There’s a special delight in the ability to share my greatest passion with young people.

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