I never wanted to be a teacher.* Not ever. Not when I was a kid. Not when I was taking a literature class from Mrs. Borsberry in the seventh grade. Not when I was taking a high-school English class with the slightly odd Miss Barrientos (All I remember is that we, the class, almost literally dissected Beowulf, and that we listened to Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” at full blast during one class period.). Not even when I was in college or grad school and was under the tutelage of some of my favorite professors. No, teaching never attracted me. I know myself too well. I can be a harsh taskmaster with my standards and expectations. I’m evil when given a red pen. Nobody needs to witness that sort of slaughter.
The irony of all that is that my business includes “teaching.” I’m a writing coach and consultant. How is that not teaching? I know I won’t have to grade papers. I won’t have to have office hours, but I still will be teaching.
For some reason, the idea of teaching writing doesn’t bother me all that much. Maybe it’s the fact that I won’t have to deal with pesky freshmen and sophomores. Maybe it’s that I won’t have to deal with the pressures often placed upon professors and creative writing teachers, such as tenure and publishing a certain number of poems, stories, and essays every year.
When I don’t have to worry about those elements of teaching, teaching becomes fun. I’ll get to talk about some of my favorite subjects. I’ll be able to share my knowledge with other people, which is something I enjoy doing. Best of all, I won’t have to deal with grading papers or being known as the challenging or mean teacher (I may, however, become known as a “challenging” consultant. I have high standards.).
*Originally published August 11, 2011