Part-time teaching is not a thing. Cue chorus of justified “I told you so”s from anyone who noted: “hmmm your schedule seems a tad full for part time.” You were absolutely correct, because part-time this fall has also involved soccer coaching, some freelance administrative projects and a few advising positions. The biggest culprit for non-part time teaching, though, is that regardless of the “teaching” hours scheduled on paper, it quickly becomes a labor of love.
The ratio of school-related time to freelance writer-related time begin to blur together, and flip flop in priority. The amount of work involved in any class is certainly a factor, but it’s easier to leave work at work and keep part-time hours when the roster of students consist of faceless names. One quarter into the semester, however, and the names have become delightful faces, personalities, and idea-filled minds. The school-related time seems to slip away, as it so often does on this adventure of learning that takes place every day. Writing time hasn’t all been together lost, but it has slowed considerably, and I’m okay with that.
Here’s what has taken place on the writing end:
-My first phase of novel edits and revision has been completed, and is entering into query writing and agent-finding time.
-Some encouraging progress with two articles, which I hope to sharing more specifics about soon
-This little blog is back on its feet after
being eaten alive by soccer season a brief hiatus
Exciting things ahead, and meanwhile I’m learning to budget time and brain space and heart space, and greatly enjoying the journey with the new young scholars in my life in the process. I will conclude with a passage from the Hobbit that has recently inspired me and sums up what I believe is at the heart of education.
This passage takes place when a hobbit Bilbo has been commissioned to accompany a troupe of dwarfs and the wizard Gandalf and act as burglar when they take back a treasured gem and family heirloom from a dragon. The dwarfs and Bilbo himself both doubt Bilbo’s capability to complete this task. Gandalf response with these words:
“‘You asked me to find the fourteenth man for your expedition, and I chose Mr. Baggins. Just let anyone say I chose the wrong man or the wrong house, and you can stop at thirteen and have all the bad luck you like, or go back to digging coal.’ He scowled so angrily at Gloin, that the dwarf fell back in his chair and when Bilbo tried to open his mouth and ask a questions, he turned and frowned at him and stuck out his bushy eyebrows, till Bilbo shut his mouth tight with a snap. ‘That’s right,’ Said Gandalf, ‘Let’s have no more argument. I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself. You may possibly all live to thank me yet'”–The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
The rest of the book (spoiler alert) shows the process of Bilbo stepping into this role that Gandalf assigned for him. Certainly it may have taken many chapters and pages for him to grow into it, but Gandalf’s predictions for him were absolutely correct.
The most influential people in our lives are always those who see more in us than we see in ourselves. This idea shapes my prayer for myself as an educator: that every day my eyes will be opened to see those young scholars, not for who they are in the moment, but who they are capable of becoming. Accompanying them on even one leg of the journey as they become the heroes in their own stories is a privilege and a joy, and I am so very thankful for the opportunity.