Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Don't Write Anymore


I don’t write anymore.

I teach writing.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.

Before I became a teacher at community college, I heard advice from other writers who said, “If you want to be a writer, don’t teach” because you’ll spend all of your time teaching and grading papers and you won’t have the necessary amount of time to devote to your own writing.  Other writers highly recommended teaching because it was a great supplement to their writing income.  So few writers can write full time AND make ends meet.

In a 2008 New York Times article by David Gessner, he says, "For most of us, the options aren’t teaching or writing all day in a barn but teaching or working at the Dairy Queen"

I didn't want to end up at Dairy Queen, so I applied for an accepted an English Composition Instructor position. 

My hesitations about becoming a teacher were assuaged when I was assigned to teach a 101 class with some amazing, eager, creative students.  Creating lesson plans and grading student essays took me back to the basics of writing.  I thought the constant review of the basics would keep me on track with my own writing.

But now as a second-semester teacher with three different levels of composition classes, I can see why some writers cautioned against teaching.  I am so interested in reading as much as possible about the research and theories of teaching writing, and I am passionate about giving my students plenty of feedback on their essays, that it eats away at all of my free time.  

by Boaz Yiftach @ freedigitalphotos.net

So I find myself in a difficult situation:
  •         I love to teach writing.
  •         I want to improve my pedagogy.
  •         Being a practicing writer will improve my writing pedagogy.
  •        But I do not have time to write. (Or I find that by the end of the day I am too tired to do anything other than fall asleep.)
In Gessner's article, "Those Who Write, Teach," he addresses many of my same concerns.

What do I do now?

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