Friday, April 23, 2010

If I could be anything, I would be..

...an artist. Any kind: writer, musician, painter, or photographer... Here's why:
True artists immerse themselves in their creativity, reposing with their muses for a while, feeling their souls break free from their bodies through extensions of their instruments be they pens, pianos, paints, or pictures. How incredible it must be to linger in that space, even if it is uncomfortable. They are risk takers in several ways both physically and emotionally. They push people to reflect about their own lives and invite souls to connect to theirs making them (and us) completely vulnerable. They open fire doors.

I've been thinking about my job - English teacher - a lot lately. I realize how much of my life is consumed by my job, how much I mercilessly give to that profession, and I pray that it's the right thing to do. I hope that my investment is somehow sacred or at least worthy. Otherwise, what the hell am I doing? I love being a teacher, though bureaucracy and money make my job just shy of impossible to do well. I don't care if my students love literature or even reading for that matter. What I do hope for is that they:

1. Learn to weigh their decisions judiciously with the understanding that every decision they make affects something/someone else.

2. Learn that people are people and that none are better than others, that sometimes circumstance affords people opportunities that others do not have and sometimes circumstances are just absolute shit. No matter what, there are people in worse places and ones in better ones. Life isn't fair and we shouldn't form opinions about people or circumstance without considering the truth of this.

3. Learn to effectively communicate with each other via speaking, writing, art, or any other medium they can come up with. This means understanding and implementing "the basics" of reading and writing at the very least, and at the very most creating poetry*.

4. Spend time in mature, honest reflection and form fair, cogent arguments or representations of their ideas to share with others.

5. Learn to think. Period. Especially in a world that is so eager and easy to manipulate..

I happen to use literature as a medium to get them recognize these things. In presenting my understandings of characters and situations, writings and interpretations, I become vulnerable to them and them to me. In this way, I am an artist.

However, I'm so tired. They take too much.

So, really if I could be anything, I would choose something else. Something that doesn't depend on the success or failure of another human - something with less responsibility.. A house cat maybe, or a tree.

* Poetry in this case means, "an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has been known to employ meter and rhyme, but this is by no means necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has gone through numerous and drastic reinvention over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define."

This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic (If I could be anything, I would be.., this week) and post responses - all of us together, simultaneously, from all over the world. (Lovely!) Please visit Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana for other wonderful posts.

6 comments:

Rummuser said...

That makes for very poignant reading and I can relate to your frustration. By default, I had to take on the role of a teacher in my previous avatar, and went through exactly the same agonizing periods of exhaustion and frustration. The rewards come when some, mind you, only some succeed in learning to learn and grow. I am now in a situation of doing what I want to do and not what circumstances forced me to do. I can afford to be flippant and casual about life and all that it has to offer.

Grannymar said...

Ginger, you are an artist and despite the frustrations, you mould and stretch your students in more ways than you will ever know.

Conrad said...

Like Ramana, as a former teacher (and son of a Principal), I can very much relate to the weariness.

I would imagine you, from what I have read on this blog, to be a magnificent teacher. But, times and individuals change and who knows where your next turn in the road is.

I don't have to be the most perceptive kid on the block to see the artist shine through from you, though. I think that is already what you are.

Ginger said...

You have no idea how helpful your support is, friends. Seriously. Thank you.

gaelikaa said...

I have a feeling that something great is struggling to come out. Your best is yet to come Ginger!

K A B L O O E Y said...

Hmm. Maybe you are Frank McCourt, who inspired his students so much and then became a rightfully famous writer of memoir. I imagine the frustration is proof of your excellence as a teacher. Certainly, those well-thought out goals would indicate this. If you can tick one of those off every few kids, you'd be inspiring instructor. Thanks for doing the fairly thankless work you do. Nothing more important than teaching, but keep feeding your soul by creating, Ginger. You have a sabbatical coming up?

Friday, April 23, 2010

If I could be anything, I would be..

...an artist. Any kind: writer, musician, painter, or photographer... Here's why:
True artists immerse themselves in their creativity, reposing with their muses for a while, feeling their souls break free from their bodies through extensions of their instruments be they pens, pianos, paints, or pictures. How incredible it must be to linger in that space, even if it is uncomfortable. They are risk takers in several ways both physically and emotionally. They push people to reflect about their own lives and invite souls to connect to theirs making them (and us) completely vulnerable. They open fire doors.

I've been thinking about my job - English teacher - a lot lately. I realize how much of my life is consumed by my job, how much I mercilessly give to that profession, and I pray that it's the right thing to do. I hope that my investment is somehow sacred or at least worthy. Otherwise, what the hell am I doing? I love being a teacher, though bureaucracy and money make my job just shy of impossible to do well. I don't care if my students love literature or even reading for that matter. What I do hope for is that they:

1. Learn to weigh their decisions judiciously with the understanding that every decision they make affects something/someone else.

2. Learn that people are people and that none are better than others, that sometimes circumstance affords people opportunities that others do not have and sometimes circumstances are just absolute shit. No matter what, there are people in worse places and ones in better ones. Life isn't fair and we shouldn't form opinions about people or circumstance without considering the truth of this.

3. Learn to effectively communicate with each other via speaking, writing, art, or any other medium they can come up with. This means understanding and implementing "the basics" of reading and writing at the very least, and at the very most creating poetry*.

4. Spend time in mature, honest reflection and form fair, cogent arguments or representations of their ideas to share with others.

5. Learn to think. Period. Especially in a world that is so eager and easy to manipulate..

I happen to use literature as a medium to get them recognize these things. In presenting my understandings of characters and situations, writings and interpretations, I become vulnerable to them and them to me. In this way, I am an artist.

However, I'm so tired. They take too much.

So, really if I could be anything, I would choose something else. Something that doesn't depend on the success or failure of another human - something with less responsibility.. A house cat maybe, or a tree.

* Poetry in this case means, "an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has been known to employ meter and rhyme, but this is by no means necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has gone through numerous and drastic reinvention over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define."

This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic (If I could be anything, I would be.., this week) and post responses - all of us together, simultaneously, from all over the world. (Lovely!) Please visit Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana for other wonderful posts.

6 comments:

Rummuser said...

That makes for very poignant reading and I can relate to your frustration. By default, I had to take on the role of a teacher in my previous avatar, and went through exactly the same agonizing periods of exhaustion and frustration. The rewards come when some, mind you, only some succeed in learning to learn and grow. I am now in a situation of doing what I want to do and not what circumstances forced me to do. I can afford to be flippant and casual about life and all that it has to offer.

Grannymar said...

Ginger, you are an artist and despite the frustrations, you mould and stretch your students in more ways than you will ever know.

Conrad said...

Like Ramana, as a former teacher (and son of a Principal), I can very much relate to the weariness.

I would imagine you, from what I have read on this blog, to be a magnificent teacher. But, times and individuals change and who knows where your next turn in the road is.

I don't have to be the most perceptive kid on the block to see the artist shine through from you, though. I think that is already what you are.

Ginger said...

You have no idea how helpful your support is, friends. Seriously. Thank you.

gaelikaa said...

I have a feeling that something great is struggling to come out. Your best is yet to come Ginger!

K A B L O O E Y said...

Hmm. Maybe you are Frank McCourt, who inspired his students so much and then became a rightfully famous writer of memoir. I imagine the frustration is proof of your excellence as a teacher. Certainly, those well-thought out goals would indicate this. If you can tick one of those off every few kids, you'd be inspiring instructor. Thanks for doing the fairly thankless work you do. Nothing more important than teaching, but keep feeding your soul by creating, Ginger. You have a sabbatical coming up?