This is the second time I've taught this class so I'm not quite as terrified as I was the first time around... Not quite.
Teaching is a strange situation for me. It's not something I ever considered doing until I was talked into it when I started grad school. My personality is full of so many contradictions when it comes to taking on this kind of role. You see, though I don't mind reading my work to an audience and I acted in a few plays in junior high, naturally I'm a pretty shy person. I'm a ball of nerves before I step on stage or up to the podium or whatever, but then once I get going I'm fine. But when I'm reading or acting, I'm taking on another role. I'm no longer shy Stephanie, I am the character I am pretending to be or the character I'm reading about.
When I lecture or teach, it's a different situation. I'm still Stephanie. For the most part, after I get going I'm fine, but there is still a voice deep inside of me going, you are gonna screw this up. You are a fraud.
I think the thing is that I loved learning so much growing up and I revered so many of my teachers, I just don't think I'm cut out to do a job as amazing as they did.
I'm not as scared about this class tonight because I have done it before and last time the students even gave me a round of applause. Character development is something I pride myself on. I try to fully flesh out and get to know everyone that comes into my story and I have a lot of techniques and ideas to share. So I can do this (sorry this blog is turning into my personal pep talk, lol), but what I'm more concerned about is the semester-long Fiction 1 course at my alma mater, Columbia College Chicago that I am signed up to teach this fall.
I learned to teach at Columbia. As I mentioned I was sort of pushed into it. I'd been tutoring other students, which was scary enough but since it was one-on-one I felt more comfortable with it. Apparently they thought I was good at it so they wanted me to take the teacher training class. This involved me teaching writing to a class of fifth or sixth graders once a week for two semesters. I have to be honest, I did not like that. Some of the kids were absolutely amazing, don't get me wrong. But I spent so much time concerned that I would accidentally swear. And I had to dress up and make sure all of my tattoos were covered--any job where I have to do that generally ends up resented. I know teaching the college kids next fall will be different because I can swear and I can dress like myself and they will be there in the class (presumably) because they want to be. But I'm still terrified. It will be like opening night of a play every week. I'll have major stage fright and those feelings of fraud that I am nowhere near as good as the teachers I had at Columbia.
So why do I put myself through this? Two reasons. One, I love being around other writers. I want to share the knowledge I have gleaned about writing with them because I believe in giving back. And I find my students inspire me. Two, teaching is a good way for a writer to earn a living. It's a little more steady than bartending, so I want to see if it is something I could do. I'm considering fall semester at Columbia to be a trial run (if my class fills, part of me hopes it won't, but mostly I'm hoping it will) to see if I'm cut out for it though I do have a feeling that I'll be better at the occasional workshop like I'm doing with StoryStudio. That might be much more speed. And if I had to pick a field that I admired growing up that I could actually feel comfortable doing it would be librarian. That's something I still seriously consider though I would have to go back to school for that.
What about you, have you ever considered teaching? Or is there another job that you really really admire like I admire teachers, but fear you are not quite cut out for?