While most of you know that I’m a full time writer, many of you don’t know that I’m a part time substitute teacher – grades k-12. While I fell into the job, I’ve always loved teaching; it’s been a passion of mine since I was very young.
I was in the fifth grade when I started to volunteer my free time in other classrooms. I continued to do this well into high school, only then I was tutoring math. Now at 31 I have a BA in Criminal Justice, an MA in HR, and an MA in OL. I have tutored nearly every subject, (the googlies are your friend) and now I teach them. I’m a firm believer that education is important, those who don’t get one are only doing themselves a disservice. I wholeheartedly believe that actively reading can open doors, not just to knew worlds fictionally speaking, but it allows the reader to experience life through the words of another person. I could tangent here for a while but I’ll step down from my soapbox.
But back to teaching, it’s weird, I’ll give you that. Yesterday I was teaching 4th grade in the morning, kindergarten in the afternoon, and today It’s high school biology. I can say this, kids at every level like to push boundaries. They all try to get away with things that would never fly if their actual teacher was in the room. Mostly, I think I’ve been pretty lucky. Outside of booger pickers, a few crying kids, and the occasional student who thinks he’s smarter than me, I have no complaints.
In fact, I’m considering a program that might allow me to become a certified teacher with my own classroom. I’ve had so many different careers at this point, while writing is still my dream, something has to pay the bills. If I could teach, impact children’s lives positively, encourage reading and learning two deep passions of mine, and enjoy it all… why wouldn’t I?
So while that’s going on at the forefront of my life, school comes to an end next week, there are other things going on in the background. Mostly the writing game. I’m still waiting to hear from 5/6 of the agents and editors from the Las Vegas Writers Conference. I’ve had one rejection already but alas, I’d been rejected before from that agent. He had wonderful complements to offer about my writing but ultimately he’s more interested in a different genera. I don’t take offense to his response at all. I had no expectations and the fact that he still had wonderful things to say about my writing made me all the happier. I still hold out hope that I’ll hear something from one of the five other people who requested fulls or partials of my novel. I have a good feeling about the conference and the contacts I made.
Speaking of networking and the such… One of the major writer’s “things” I’ve always felt was missing, is a critique group. I’ve tried to join one near me, except they’re not really that close. They meet at a time when I have prior commitments and I find myself banging my head against the wall a bit. What to do, what to do.
Well when I was at the conference I met another writer and we hit it off. We’ve exchanged manuscripts, and I feel so honored that she’s let me give her feed back and that she’s taken the time to share feed back about mine with me. There is something to be said for having these people in our lives, as creatives. I can talk till I’m blue in the face with a non-writer but the monosyllable responses get old. They never get as excited about pros and dialog, or about world building. They never debate the wording of a particular passage, or really understand what it’s like to have a character talk to you. I watch as eyes glaze over, and boredom sets in. Nuance is lost on them and forget about day dreaming aloud with them about other authors and us riding a wine train when we someday make it. They just don’t “Get It” the same way that another writer would.
I don’t think I realized how much this was missing from my life, until the conference. It’s refreshing, not to mention exciting, to engage with someone several times a week about our craft, life, and how it all ties together. About obsession with the dark side of writing and the light. About character growth and the arch of a story. I feel very lucky to have made a new friend and thankful that despite the distance in real life, she’s my neighbor in the world of make believe.
Well my free time in class is about to end and I should sign off. Oh but before I do, I’m nearly finished listing to the book Sleeping Giants and WOW… If you haven’t looked this book up, do so now. Or you will regret it later, I’m almost certain.