Tag Archives: teaching english

Turn and face the strange.

Some time ago, in the midst of one of my many (many) existential crises, I happened upon a series of books called The School of Life.  The premise of all these books is that sometimes the things we aren’t overtly taught via the many institutions to which we belong by choice, default or force, could really use some basic instruction.  Some titles include How To Connect with Nature, and How To Be Alone, as well as News: A User’s Manual.   One of the books proffered is How To Find Fulfilling Work, and whilst I have been engaged throughout much of my adult life in fulfilling work, at the time I found that book, I very much was not fulfillingly employed.

This, unfortunately, remains the case.

You see, whilst I do love language, and I do love teaching, I do not so much love teaching language.  I never envisaged teaching English; teaching English was something I never foresaw falling back on, and that happened to save my arse when I did indeed fall.

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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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Rambling into 2013: An update

I think I’ve always been a bit of an all-or-nothing type.  I’m melodramatic and a bit self-involved quite a lot of the time, much to the annoyance of anyone who loves me and many who don’t.  A knock-on effect of those tendencies happens to be that I give something a go and if it doesn’t work out, I let it go pretty easily.  I don’t give up, mind – I just shift.  My attention.  My effort.  My raison d’être.

When I was 15 I thought I might be a writer.  By 17 I was hoping to fall head-first into rockstardome.  At 18 I boarded a plane to Manila.  Said I to me, “Either animals, children, or music…that’s gotta be it.”  By the time I boarded the plane back to LA I was set upon working with kids.  Homeless kids, to be exact.  And I did – much more than I ever did poetry or rocking out.  But life has, in the past couple of years, led me in a number of different directions, and so I’ve found myself doing the things life has led me to do.  Most of those things haven’t involved homeless children…or children at all, really.

The last year has been an interesting one.  At the start of it, I was feeling rather zen about all of it, like things were sure to fall in place if I just kept my head about me and stayed focused.  I suppose things did fall into place, if by “things” I didn’t mean “money” and by “place” I didn’t mean “my bank account.”

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Plan-schman.

There is always, always a plan.  Even when I try to let life lead, there is always a plan.  Even when I don’t know exactly what the outcome will be, there are a number of options.  Like the doors on a gameshow, I expect the outcome to my big life decisions to fall within the confines of one of them, or some combination of the lot.  This time has been very different.

When the idea to write for a living came along, it was as though, for a moment, I suddenly had sea legs.  Is that even legal?  Surely I’m not one of the beautiful people.  I’m not someone who gets to spend her days creating.  Surely my mind isn’t independent enough, I’m not relentless enough, and after all, who on Earth wants to read what I’ve got to write?

Alas, I’m over a year into this endeavor and I can say that, without a doubt, I’ve not yet figured out the answers to any of those questions, or calmed any of those doubts (with the exception of that question on legality.  Apparently it is.  You heard it here first, beloved readers).

Don’t get me wrong – this post is not some big fishing festival – you read me, ergo, I’m gonna go ahead and assume you think I’m wonderful, either because of my uncanny ability to whittle words or because you just love me from way back.  I’ll take either one.  As to the editors I’ve contacted, the feedback has been…limited.  I’ve sold a few articles, I’ve written several more for free, and I keep on keeping on.  But there has been more than a little hubris along the way.

See, the first thought was this:

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Apparently I’m staying.

Day before yesterday, Chris ran to the local tabac (offy / liquor store – sans liquor) to spend a whole bunch of money to buy these little tiny pieces of paper that quite closely resembled a mix between stamps and monopoly money.  On each of those little pieces of paper was a unit of money:  1€, 8€, 50€.  This mysterious task was required in order for our subsequent trip, yesterday, to the prefecture, which is the same word in English and therefore not really necessary to italicize.  But whatever.  I do because I can.  I hope you read it with the appropriate pronunciation.  Moving right along…that trip to the aforementioned prefecture was to pick up my carte de sejour, or card of stay, more appropriately translated as “staying card,” or for you boring folks out there who like to keep it simple, my visa, for which they only accept the aforementioned monopoly-stamp-money .

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