Tag Archives: english

5 things I learned teaching.

It is not yet time to give you an update on what is happening, because I frankly do not know.  I’m still in the process of trying to make a very significant life change (again, because that’s how I roll), and it has proven very difficult thus far.  So in thinking about what’s to come, I have lots of unknowns and empty spaces and that is profoundly anxiety-producing and not something I could even begin to write about, except on a meta-scale, and of course, that’s why I have a journal.

For purposes of What If and Why Not, however, I thought a reflection on the past couple of years, as I (hopefully) make my slightly awkward exit from the wonderful world of teaching was in order.  Without further ado, ladies and gents, a few tidbits I may have already known, but teaching made that much clearer.

1. High school kids don’t realize teachers are people.  Neither do lots of college students. I should have learned this lesson as a student, because it was seriously the case for me, and most of the people I grew up with.  Until a certain age, depending, of course, on the person and their relationship to certain aspects of society (authority, family, friendship, etc.), certain grown-ups are…let’s say not as human as one’s peers.  There is a profound Continue reading

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There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.

It never occurred to me to become a teacher.  I’ve always had such a weird relationship with teachers – some of them adored me and made me see the endless possibilities my life held, but a lot of them were really kind of awful, a few even stooping so low as to resort to bullying tactics.  I was, admittedly, an outrageously annoying child.  I talked incessantly to cope with my almost unbearable insecurities.  I was, as I’ve mentioned here previously, super tall and pretty fat.  For a while there I was also reasonably smart.  My first grade teacher made a point of that last bit, pulling me apart from the rest of the class and bringing my reading level three grades higher than everyone else’s.  Additionally, at story time she would have me read to the class.  As you can imagine, this made everyone think I was awesome.  Oh, how they’d cheer my name at recess.

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What I Seemingly Must Become

Many of you will know that Kurt Vonnegut is my all-time favorite writer.  I love absolutely every aspect of his now-departed being:  I love his silliness (ting-a-ling), his seriousness (why, why, why?), even his physical presence.  He was a gangling man, tall and thin, with big bug eyes, a long nose and a head full of big fat curls that were grey from the first day I read him, and long before that, of course.  Of all the writers I have ever read, he has come closest to my understanding of Gandhi’s satyagraha – absolute truth – and he has also inspired me more than any other to put words onto paper.  It is because of Vonnegut that I understand the two notions around fiction – that it is more honest than fact, and that fact is much stranger than fiction quite a lot of the time.

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