Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back To School...

Above is a recent yearbook picture of me. It might be my least favorite part of being a teacher -- I hate getting my picture taken every year. It's as awkward as an adult as it was as a kid.

There is a lot that I love about teaching. I love teenagers. I mean, sure, they can be a pain just like anyone else. But frankly, between dealing with teens vs. adults, I'd choose teens every day of the week. Teenagers are less likely to be jaded. They still have hope for the future and believe, I mean REALLY BELIEVE, that they can do anything. This can be frustrating when you have a straight F student believing high school is a waste of time since he's going to be an NFL star...but, other than that, it's really great to be around people who've yet to be really disappointed by life. For the most part, they still hold their innocence.

I've said before that what I love best about YA is the inertia -- how quickly it moves, how much it says, how hard and fast it feels things. I live like that -- I was that way as a high schooler and I am that way now. I read and write the way my brain works. This means that, as a teacher of 15-17 year olds, I get to be surrounded by like minded people. Who could ask for more?

That being said, yes, I'm mourning the end of my summer. I am fretting over the fact that I'll be working on my option book and setting up a brand new teaching prep at the same time. I'm sort of kicking myself about taking on so much, which is what I always do -- I agreed to be joint advisor of the sophomore class this year and I'm teaching a Maryland State Department of Ed class to new teachers on Monday evenings. And keeping up with this blog. And tweeting. And raising my son. Loving my husband. And writing. Writing writing writing where ever it will fit.

I was reading a blog post by Ally Carter at some point in the last few weeks and she said something that I'm sure I'm going to misquote, but it was basically this: You need to choose whether you can worry about time or worry about money. As a writer, I've always been stressed about time. But I don't think I could stand worrying about how to pay the bills.

That is one motivation I have for staying gainfully employed as a teacher -- but it isn't the main one. The biggest motivation is this -- I'm surrounded by my reading audience every day. I get to hear them talk and laugh and tease each other. I'm always up on the latest slang. I know their inflections and their phonetics. I am constantly, inadvertently eavesdropping on the very people I'm writing about. For me, that's gold and isn't something I can trade.

I love teenagers. I enjoy being around them. One day, I do hope to be a full-time writer -- but now, I'm trying to relish the fact that I get to be with the people who are most like my characters. Even on days like this, when I dread giving up my life of summer leisure, I want to remember how fortunate I am.

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