Sunday, August 11, 2013

Being a Teacher

I said there is a difference between what we do and what (or who) we are.
Well, among other things, I am a teacher.
One of the odd things about what we are is that we are that thing before we do it, usually even before we know it.
I found out I was a teacher at noon on my first day of student teaching. I was exhausted and elated, knowing without articulating that I was born to do this.
Looking back, can see there were plenty of indications scattered along the path of my life, I just hadn't seen them as teaching until that first day in a classroom.
Even if I tried escaping teaching, I couldn't.
I discovered this while at a writing retreat where, tired of the label, I attempted to leave the teacher behind.
It was one of those live-inn retreats where writers attend classes in the morning, spend the afternoon writing, then get together in the evening to talk writing. As happens, I had become part of a tightly knit subgroup who hung out together, sharing our more intimate selves.
I must have done a great job of withholding my day job, because wasn't until the end of a week that one of them asked what I did when not writing.
I told them and they didn't believe me.
I asked why not.
"When we share our writing you don't act like a teacher," a girl in the group said. "You tell us what you like and what doesn't work, but never what we should do about it. You never try to fix our writing, you just help us see how to do it better."
She stopped and suddenly everyone was laughing.
"Damn," one of them said.
My sentiments exactly.

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