Death has been on my brain more than usual and as the month of harvest draws nearer, I find myself preparing for many culminations. The end of August traditionally signals endings, but endings can often be considered beginnings. Personally, it will be the end of my treasured free time that began in May (it actually began last week as two of my three on-line classes ended), the start of an increased work-load as kids flock to retail stores to prepare for school, my vacation to Salem, MA (I can't even begin to describe the pumpkins dancing in my head as I count down the days for this mini-vacation), and lastly, a very different back-to-school experience for me. This Fall, I will begin my internship and study under a mentor teacher in some (as of yet) unnamed High school. I will no longer be able to wear my torn jeans, brightly dyed hair, and skull accessories. Instead, I must transform my outer shell into something more refined. It's true that I've had to do this often enough in the past; Holidays, special events, and retail work have filled my closet with dress-clothes, but there was always those days when I was able to get away with flip flops or spaghetti straps. From this semester on, I will be watched. Professors will be keeping close tabs on my performance as well as the entire staff and student body of the high school I will be reporting to. Besides my wardrobe, I am not allowed to carry mace for my own protection (something I've been doing for years now).
While these aren't major transitions by themselves, it was a stark reminder that I am (finally!) entering the career world. I've followed my life-path to the place that I feel I can make the most difference and now must be prepared to deal with the realities and sacrifices this entails. Teaching is not a glorious profession but it is one that I've always respected. Many of my teachers in the past have complained about the pay, the environment, the staff, etc, but most of them were willing to talk to me whenever I needed them or confronted me after too many missing homework assignments.
Teachers are role models because students are told to look up to them. They stand in front of a class full of cranky children or teenagers day-after-day, and put themselves up for display and sometimes, annihilation. High school kids can be cruel and criticizing, tearing a teacher apart, or they can be diligent and inspire hope. Though sometimes difficult, it is here, in their teenage years, that students need the most patience. As someone who has had a few crashes along life's landing strip, I can say that patience wasn't completely inherent in me but developed over time.
My goal to be high school teacher isn't solely unselfish. Helping people does give a kind of satisfaction. But another reason I want to teach is the access to knowledge. I've always loved learning something new and sharing it with my friends, my family...the cat...whoever would listen. Learning something intriguing (Literature and mythology are two of the subjects that stimulated my imagination while growing up but art, history and science-fiction brought this excitement out of me also), being filled with exuberance, and then passing that same contagious fire on to someone else made me feel connected to world in a very unique way. I was a guide of sorts.
A few people in my life told me that I would make great teacher but I laughed at them then. Teaching was the last thing I saw myself doing. I wanted to do something more hands-on and better paying: Veterinary technology.
Besides this heavy philosophical metamorphosis, I also landed three new short story publications, one of which is slated for August. Along with the changing of my intellectual outlook on life, I've put more energy into my writing this Summer and have noticed intriguing changes. This break has given me a few extra moments at the end of each day (you know, instead of collapsing into my bed as I usually do after an eight hour shift and two to four classes + homework) to mentally catch up with how much I've changed in the last few years and somehow, it always surprises me when I've passed the half-way mark. With these new musings, I decided to tidy up my website. I've made some of the syntax sharper, cleared out the spam-bot nest in my guestbook, and updated some things. If you're feeling bored, take a gander and drop me a (non-spam bot) comment in my guest book. More updates about my publications soon!