In bibliophile news, I just purchased Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type and How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. I’m excited about both volumes, in addition to spending some of this evening drafting my Educator’s resume, drafting a cover letter for the Friends Schools in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, and coming up with some talking points about curriculum, passion, and cultivating character. Shaun, of Polyskeptic, has generously offered to connect me with some faculty at his own alma mater to explore future opportunities there. I think extending my library (both physical and mental) and augmenting my vocabulary with an eye on the differing needs of different kinds of kids is beneficial, since that’s something I’d really like to be able to bring to my classrooms. I’m just about to finish Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, and I’m trying to keep an even balance of fiction and non-fiction consumption. My next fiction project is to familiarize myself with the literary curriculum for the age groups I would like to teach (11-16), see how much it has changed, and determine what I ought to be be plowing through to feel prepared and well-versed. The summer reading lists also seem like a thing I ought to examine closely.
I spent a lot of time this weekend connecting pretty deeply with a lot of friends with whom I have a great deal of history. It was nice. There was probably just a touch too much whiskey involved; but none of us are too much worse for the wear over it. It is an amazing experience to be known and intuited so clearly and accurately by people. I’m suffering from a little bit of overload, and I’m looking forward to an evening on my own to do some tidying up, finish laundry, and spend time quietly in my own company. Tom and I have talked about picking up Children of Light to play together, and I think that will be nice, as well. I also have some preparation to do for this week’s session of Jade Regent, so some reading and putzing and then an early bedtime sounds like just what the doctor ordered.
I’m tired to my bones today, and was dreading the dawn of the work week. I’ve been pretty productive today and feel myself relaxing considerably now that my performance at work is less about a dogfight to the top of the billable hours roster, and more just doing my best and getting through the next year. The stakes feel lower, and for whatever reason that seems to make me feel better about the job that I’m doing and about my weekly totals. The light at the end of the tunnel still feels pretty remote. However, it is there, sparkling off in the distance.
I know life won’t be perfect when I transition to teaching. It is hard, *ssbreaking, and sometimes thankless work. I will be tired a lot of the time. Teachers have long work days that start quite early and can end quite late. I will need to build more time for myself into my schedule, and not let my inclination to say “Yes” to all social invitations run my sh*t into the ground. There will be days that my students will hate what I’m asking them to do. There will be conflicts with parents, and kids in crisis. There will be continuing education credits to fulfill, and likely, an Ed.D. somewhere down the line. That will mean research, bibliographies, a dissertation.
Even the worst of those days sound more fulfilling, more promising, and more like home than what I do now, which has gotten to feel like an empty, soulless grind. I work for excellent human beings, but the work we do is not work about which I feel passionate, or often, even satisfied. The relentless pressure to gamble on law school, the knowledge that after three and a half years, I’m at the top of my game, and that the challenge of my work is mostly a race against the clock from 8:30 in the morning (let’s be honest, I’m in at seven and just lie about it) until five in the evening, to frame my life and my work in terms of six minute blocks and then cram as many of them in a day as I can, for essentially, money… it’s demoralizing. So the bad days teaching will likely suck pretty hard, but the good days will be a kind of good I just can’t access where I am now. Yeah, I won’t get huge bonuses for Christmas; but really — that’s all there really is to look forward to, here. It’s the reason for every moment spent at work. And I think I just have a deep requirement for more of a sense of purpose and accomplishment and meaning than that. Plus, my curiosity will have more a place to inhabit and grow. There will always be new techniques, new material, new best practices, new curricula. There will always be classes to take and repertoires to augment. That kind of intellectual prosperity is something important to me.
I have to wait for all of this. It’s going to take some time. But the more I reflect and talk about this choice, the more I’m sure that what I stand to gain far outshines what I might need to lose.