Well dammit all, I love it.
I forgot how much I love this stuff. I love talking about how to get kids to enjoy reading. I love learning new ways to get teenagers hooked on a book. I'm fascinated by the whole process of teaching someone to read. I'm excited about learning new ways to connect with students in the classroom.
Did you read that?
I'm actually excited about something I could do for a living.
I've forgotten what that feels like.
I haven't loved what I do for a living since I left teaching a decade ago. I fantasize about having my own class again. I think about ways to engage students. I'm excited to hear what they think about new books, new writers and current events. God help me, I love teenagers. There, I said it.
Everybody's got their niche. That one thing they're really good at. I think I'm really good at just loving those pesky teenagers to death. People always look at me like I'm nuts when I say I prefer teenagers to little kids. But it's true. Of course now that I have my own kids they don't scare me so much. I could actually see myself teaching in the elementary grades now that I've had that parenting experience.
But oh, my heart. It lies with teenagers. There's something about that time in your life when you're encountering everything for the first time. First heartbreak. First desire. First outrage. First awareness of the world outside your home, your school, your parents and your friends. The rawness of adolescence just captures my sympathy like no other time of life.
Maybe I wasn't the greatest English teacher that ever lived. Maybe someone else was better at teaching grammar. Or maybe some other teacher was more clever with their analysis. Maybe they were faster graders or assigned more papers. Maybe they focused more and stayed on topic. I know I was one to be drawn in and seduced by my students' attempts to distract me. They'd have me laughing about something ridiculous and unrelated more times than they probably should have. The scamps! But oh my heart. They had it. And I can't help but think that maybe a little bit of the love I had for them and for the literature might have helped ease the sting of high school just a little bit. In some small way.
Maybe in that way, I made a difference with my life. I did something that mattered. Maybe I actually helped someone?
I ache for that. I do. I feel so empty writing advertising headlines built to sell you something you may or may not even need. It's just not doing it for me.
But the brutality of adolescence? The passion of literature? Oh let me dive back in. I know I'm a foul-mouthed writer with a penchant for dirty jokes. But I swear, tax-paying parents of America, I will love the crap out of your kids.
No one is ever going to hire me.
Oh well. Let's hope the book I'm writing is a bestseller.