Teach Me How to Live
I haven’t written much lately. There was that strange bee thing a few weeks back, and then after another long hiatus I came out with the George Lucas bashing. Honestly I was just struggling to pull something out of thin air. The truth is that I have been making major life-altering decisions about my future and as a result my focus has shifted. For instance, I’m now working to become a teacher.
It’s a strange animal, this English degree. At times I reflect on what motivated me to acquire it, and all of the immediate effects of that pursuit. English, or more specifically writing, comprehending, and speaking, has always been the thing I do well. A high school math teacher reinforced my resolve when he assured me that his eight month old dog was more intelligent than me. Certainly, I have always been a wordsmith and not a mathematician. A career as an engineer never seemed desirable or plausible. Though I didn’t have a clear vision of what one could do with an English degree, other than continue the cycle of learning by teaching it back again, I pursued it with enthusiasm as my one true path. As I progressed through college, I gained more knowledge and experience as a writer, which in turn served me as a human by clarifying my thoughts, my speech, and my comprehension of the world through language. How could those things not appear invaluable? Furthermore, I was given the opportunity to start up a magazine that served as an outlet for creativity, thought, and religious belief. I do not regret my degree.
There have been other times when I question the functionality of my English degree. Two years of searching for a job and a purpose can do that to you. More than once I have heard from a potential employer, “Sorry, but we went with someone with more experience.” That kind of thing can lead to some harsh second-guessing. Was it all just a silly fruitless thing? Was college a complete waste of time and money? Month after month of student loans being paid by a job that I have worked at for too long and that has so little to do with what I have invested my resources in had really brought me to a place of doubt. I believe in purpose. My life needs purpose. There’s no way that my passion for words is a lost cause. No way.
I can’t tell you how often I have heard since declaring my English major, “Are you going to be a teacher?” Everyone assumes that English degrees are only good for that one thing. That assumption always rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t like that people were putting me in a box and limiting my potential. So, I fought it by saying that I wasn’t going to be a teacher. I’ll write, or I’ll do something else, but I’m not just going to “give up” and teach. I put up a decent fight for a while, but one cannot push against the current forever. While I was reaching the end of my vague search for any job that would take me, circumstances in my life were opening my heart and mind to the real legitimacy of teaching. I recognized that one of my greatest joys was getting people to think for themselves, and there were moments where that was happening right in front of me. This blog exists mostly to engage the hearts and minds of those who read it. Basically, the areas of my life which held the most satisfaction related to some aspect of teaching.
I am now in pursuit of my teaching license which comes from passing the MTELs and eventually completing grad school. The first test is November 19.
I love to teach. I am a teacher.
The least I can do is make a living out of it and positively influence a generation.