…I certainly am now.
So, backstory: Sometimes I misunderstand class directions. In this case it was concerning the UGP. Yeah, you know that thing that has been dominating my blog lately? That one. Anyway, my understanding was that we were just jumping in and checking out a genre that is unfamiliar. While this is true, I missed the part about addressing our touchstone beliefs as a teacher.
Fun fact: right now I am very much in the “wobble” phase of being a teacher. I’ve taken the pose (as of this semester I am officially an English Ed. major), but I have no idea where to begin my teaching vinyasa, my teaching pose.
It wasn’t long ago that I was telling people that I never imagined being a teacher. That wasn’t the direction I saw myself heading. I wanted to write, dangit! but I had fallen prey to the old saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” So, I didn’t want to teach. That meant I wouldn’t be able to be what I want to be. Teaching seemed to be a limiter rather than an emancipator in terms of my pose as a writer.
This project wasn’t going to be the first time I had jumped into an unfamiliar genre. Luckily for me, I’ve had teachers since high school who were always willing to push me in my writing. I was constantly trying new things from sestinas to graphic novels to twitter stories. So, even though I knew this project was going to be challenging, I was at ease. If anything, I was actually excited to try something new and to have a project where I could direct some of the things I’ve learned about writing since coming back to college a year ago.
BAM! It has to be about your touchstone beliefs about being a teacher.
Welp. I’m done. This isn’t what I was prepared for.
Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but I’ve never thought about this before! It wasn’t until last semester I even began to consider the idea of being an educator as being anything other than a, “Ha, maybe I’ll go that route if I don’t find something else to do.” But when I came back to college, between my experiences in class, conversations with my peers, and political uproar, my perspective began to shift. Maybe education was a good way to get people to think. Maybe education was an opportunity to challenge people, to get them outside their comfort zone, and to push them towards virtuous things. Maybe education was a route I could take to tangibly affect the world for the better.
Hmmm, and maybe, just maybe education was a way to share my love for literature with people. I don’t mean this in the typical way, as in, maybe I’ll be able to help some student find a passion for literature. If I do, that would be awesome. But I think I am just as excited to sit with students as they read stories, other people’s stories, and make them their own. In the words of Atticus in Harper Lee’s classic, I want to watch as students “put on someone else’s shoes and walk around in them,” and watch them come out on the other side. I know that’s why I love literature. I never finish a story the same person as I started, and I think art and literature mold us into better people. How could it not?
I’m still wobbling as I take this pose of teacher. I don’t know what I believe about education. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have laughed if you had told me that I would ever pursue education. But I know I like the path I’m on. I love literature and I love students. I am a student and I hope I will always be a student. Being a teacher is one way to have that opportunity, and it opens the doors to so many other good conversations, interactions, and stories with students that I can’t wait to see. Thanks for wobbling with me today.