Monday, August 12, 2013

A Life of Passion

My creative writing class
from last year.
I’m very fortunate that I get to spend my life pursuing my two passions: teaching and writing.

They are similar pursuits. They're both stressful. Both sometimes require patience and occasionally a little outside help in the form of an adult beverage. And both require a person to pour in love and hard work and then let go and see what happens.
See, no matter how hard I work on lessons, the results are up to my students. How much they learn, how well they perform, have only a small amount to do with me. If I do my job correctly, they won’t need me eventually.

But it’s delayed gratification, because I don’t truly get to see the results until years later.

This is writing. Writers pour their hearts and souls into a manuscript, but it will be years until they see those results. And once they have let the book out into the world, it’s out of their hands. It’s up to the readers then, who will hopefully see the detail, feel the nuances, climb inside the world and inhabit, just for a moment, a world that was born out of passion.

Teaching and writing can be frustrating. There are times when you aren’t sure if what you are doing is worth is. But those moments are brief. It is in the action that I am truly satisfied. It is when I’m discussing literature with students that I am the happiest. It is when I am cuddled up with coffee and revisions that I am most content. It isn’t the accolades or recognition or milestones that do it for me – it is simply the doing.

It is this life that I want for my students.

I want to teach my students to think, to examine, to create. I want my students to spend their lives seeking knowledge, whatever that may look like. I hope to teach my students to want more out of life, not to simply exist, but to live, and to live in the way that they choose.

Above all, that’s why I teach - because I want my students to have choices. I want whatever they do in life to be a result of a choice, not a lack of options. If they want to dig ditches, I think that’s great, as long as they have chosen that rather than been forced to do that. That makes all the difference. I teach so that none of my students will look back and realize they couldn’t pursue their passion, whatever it was, because they lacked the skills. I give my students the tools to succeed in college so that if they don’t go, it will be because their passion lay in another field, not because they couldn’t get in. I want my students to find their passion and chase it down. I want their lives to be full of the things they love. I want them to wake up each and every day and feel just as happy, just as lucky, as I do, because they aren’t existing, they are living.

Above all, I teach and write because not doing so isn’t really an option. Because I love learning new things and lighting a fire in others. Because sometimes my skin can’t hold the words in any longer. Because my passion drives me to do so.

May yours do the same.



    You are amazing and everyone deserves a teacher like you.