Here’s a secret that is only a secret if you are one of the well-over-six-billion people that don’t know I exist; I loved being a public school teacher. I taught for 31 years. 24 years of that was in middle school. I taught more than 1000 different seventh graders. And I loved it.
Please don’t reveal this secret to any mental health professionals. I like my freedom. And I am really not dangerous even after teaching that many seventh graders. I promise.
But it has left me with a compulsion. I confess it is the reason I write humorous young adult novels and why I continue to write this blog. I have to tell teacher stories or I will surely explode.
I have to tell you not only about the normal kids I taught, but the super-brainy mega-nerds I taught, the relatively stupid kids I taught, the honor students, the autistic kids, the kids who loved to sleep in class, the classroom clowns that tried to keep them awake, the kids who loved my class, the kids who hated my class, the times I was a really stupid teacher, the times I achieved some real milestones for some wonderful kids, the kids I still love to this day, the kids I tried really hard to love, but…. (well, some kids not even a mother could love), the drug dealers I had to protect my class from, the kids who talked to me about suicide and abuse and horrible things that still make me cry, the kids I lost along the way, and, well, the list goes on and on but this is an epic run-on sentence and the English teacher inside me is screaming at the moment.
You get the idea. Like most writers… real writers, not hacks and wannabees, I write because I have to. I don’t have a choice. No matter what it costs me. And what do I have to talk about in writing except being a school teacher and the almost infinite lessons that experience taught me?
I loved being the rabbit holding the big pencil in the front of the classroom. And that metaphor means, as crazy as it sounds, I loved being a teacher.