Month: January 2010

Why Write?

Working on some last minut thesis things before traveling back home to meet with my chair. Still unemployed and waiting to hear back from some places. I hope I hear back sooner rather than later.

My thesis essay is basically a “why I write” essay. And I have to be honest it is taking some soul searching to answer this question.

So tell me, why do you write?

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Missing the Classroom

Today I have a job interview. Praise Jesus. I’m now registered to be a substitute teacher, but as my mother pointed out to me on the phone, “You’re a leader. You like to see results. You’re not the babysitting kind.” I of course took the praise and am glad I called  my mother. It’s always good to feel confident in an interview, especially when I’m sure I’m going to hear at least once, “You’re quite young.”

While I don’t mind substitute teaching, it is a paycheck afterall, that is all it is. I have never been good at jobs that just pay the bills. I was the WORST waitress ever. In the history of  waitresses. When I’m teaching, although it is hard work, I do love nearly every moment of it. I will admit when I taught high school I didn’t love all the in-service meetings, I didn’t love pushy students and parents, and I didn’t love turning in lesson plans once a week. I wasn’t a huge fan of grading papers, but there are worse things about teaching, to be frank.

Since I recently moved and am working on my thesis hours I’ve been job hunting like a maniac and you know what? I miss being in the classroom as both teacher and student. I miss not having a list of books to buy that I know I’ll get to discuss with my classmates. I miss my smart professors who find ways to shed light on concepts and themes so dark. But I also really miss being the teacher.

I was telling my boyfriend the other day how much I miss being in the classroom. I should mention this was during winter break, maybe a week and half after the semester ended. I’m an addict. I love my students, even the annoying ones. I don’t miss the annoying ones a lot, but usually they are the students that provide the best conversation starters.

The interview is to teach at a high school and last night I was prepping, by looking at some commonly asked interview questions; I noticed that one of the questions was about my teaching portfolio.

I freaked. Stephan Colbert was almost over, I was tired. I scrambled for another two hours getting together the documents that I now need to take to Staples to get put into a nice folder with tabs. While gathering these documents I thought it would be a nice touch to add some of the essays my high school students wrote my first year teaching. I asked them the question, “What will you miss most about this class?” And while there were a lot of answers that felt fake, I did make the assignment a completion grade, and told them that they could say they hated the class, didn’t learn anything, and thought I was a poo poo head, if of course they backed it up with evidence.

Some of them did say mean things, but it’s a free country and I was grateful they felt comfortable and confident enough to be honest.

A good portion of them wrote some of the most lovely things and I would like to share this one quote with you.

“I will miss the teacher and hearing her crazy jokes. I really never met a real geek until I got in this class. No offense but you was mean sometimes when we talked over you.”

How can you not love teaching when students say things like this?

I hope this afternoon I get the opportunity to get back in there with the kids. Lord knows I miss them and I haven’t even met them yet.

A Quick Update

So, I’m done with my rough draft (PRAISE JESUS!) and am trying to get through another large document for my thesis. This one is more of a “why I write” and “these writer’s changed my life” sort of document. I do need to do some major revisions for my novel, but I’ve put it on the back burner for now because I didn’t even want to look at my thesis. I am currently compiling a list of “what I learned when writing my first novel” which I am eager to share with all of you.

While writing and graduating are my top priority the first of the month is approaching and I’m still unemployed. I’m starting to get freaked out. I paid my electric, so at least I’ll have power for one more month. Ha! Well, I’m quite overwhelmed and have so much discuss and not enough time to write it all out.

Eventually, I’ll get a rhythm. I had a great rhythm when I was banging out those pages, I just have to adjust to another deadline.

Back to work and job hunting.

Okay I lied…

I thought I wasn’t going to write but I really needed a warm up this morning. I started to write and I have a page of crossed out sentences, which will end up in the recycling bin. Yesterday was a very productive day and today needs to be as well. Still, I’m getting a bit nervous about this thesis. While, I’m confident that with some long nights and days I’ll be able to bang out the pages, I’m super worried that it sucks.

Is this normal? To hate such a massive work. I’ve never worked on anything this big before, and as I was opening up the first chunk I realized, it’s not as big as I thought it was. I don’t know if this means I’m going to be doing a lot of revision (which is highly likely) or if I need add some more significant sub-plots.

I’ve been thinking a lot about subplots lately. I’m trying to do a lot of novel-reading since I’m writing one. I look very closely at structure since I think this is one of my weaknesses. I know what I want the major story to be about, but I never realized how important subplots were until I started to really focus on the structure of published novels. Successful novels both critically and commercially.

While, right now, my major focus is getting that main plot out, I know I’m going to have to add some more.

Every morning, when I open up the pages of this thesis on my computer I think about it the project and how much time I’ve devoted to it, and it freaks me out. I need to get over this because I’m making this project bigger than it actually is. I need to look at it for what it is: a story that needs to be told. I also need to just tell it. The rest of it will come. It will come.

Well, I feel warmed up. Happy writing!