When you’ve taught school for 20 years, you hear things like, “It must be so much easier now.” or, “It must be nice to have the summers off.” I think that means that there’s an assumption that I’ve a stack of files that I go to each week, pulling out what I need, knowing that it’ll work because I’ve done it dozens of times before. Or, that summers are devoid of anything having to do with school.
I’m here to tell you – that’s not the case – for me, anyway. With a sheepish shrug, someone just this week admitted that the reason he got out of teaching was because he was bored! This man is creative and energetic and apparently, always up for something new. But it was so refreshing to me because I’ve had the boredom demon nipping at my toes, too. Thankfully, my role with kids who are always up for something new has allowed me to blend my need to teach something new and interesting to me – in new and interesting ways.
So although it’s true that a few novels just must be taught each year, my list of 14 novels this year includes some new ones, mostly because I keep reading and discovering novels out there that hold some fresh gems to me and my kids. Perpetually gleaning, I’m finding unique expressions of words and concepts that inspire me to teach them in a way that captures my students’ interest. This in turn turns my creativity crank, making me an enthusiastic and excited teacher. Just last week I was reading something and my wheels started turning…’maybe this would help my kids learn characterization….” (This is how I think.)
I used to think, ‘why am I working so hard?’ Rewriting papers, designing files, customizing work for that student who sees life just a little differently….well, it’s because I love them and I love what I do and I’m fully aware just how blessed I am to have the job. So my summers ‘off’ will continue to be spent searching for books to grab that boy’s attention, jotting down poetry ideas and developing my own writing because with material this good surrounding me, being bored is not an option.