The Twist in the Road- Seth Chamberlin
August 27th, 2015
It’s been twenty years since I graduated high school, and here I am trying to go back. Funny that.
This week I got my substitute teaching license. In standard Chamberlin fashion, it’s just a few days before school starts too! I’ll be doing this while I get my fulltime teaching license. Yay me.
I never thought I’d be a teacher. I never had even the slightest urge to teach, and quite honestly, I freakin’ hated school. I guess my mom planted the seed when I was a teenager, saying that she thought I’d make a good teacher. This is likely because I taught her how to use every piece of post-analogue technology we ever had. At the time her observation stopped me in my tracks as I wondered why she would say that. I was kind of a smart ass with a bad attitude. Okay, change the “was” to an “am” and we’re keepin’ it real. But, I put the notion aside and went on with my initial undergrad education in fine art. Let’s not go into that failapolooza just now. Pain. Anguish. These are the ways to the Dark Side.
Fast forward a bit. I started writing because I enjoyed it.
CUT! Wait. Hold on. What does this have to do with teaching?
I’ll get to that. Calm down and shoosh whilst I preamble a bit. Yeesh. Voices jumpin’ in my blog posts now.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Writing. I cut my teeth on an urban fantasy novel that dealt with vampires and demons and incest… Yup. So that happened. BUT, I learned a great deal about writing, myself, and the fathomless depths of my ignorance on the topic of writing for publication. That was something I knew I had to fix.
Fast forward a lil bit. Just a bit. Okay, stop. Right there. Good. My memory banks now bursting with publishing and craft knowledge, I started networking with other writers on Myspace (yes Myspace! Shoosh) and that carried over to Facebook. Oddly, as I talked shop in these groups (and pissed off TONS of douchebags) I kept meeting people who wanted my help. Most of the time, I just referred them to the many resources I found during my own journey of self-education, but not everyone can learn on their own. Some people need a curator of information, a guide that can help them turn what they read and hear into knowledge and I really enjoyed being that person.
Over the years I’ve mentored a dozen or so writers of various levels and talents. I’ve done this with a few artists as well. Teaching high school is not the same thing. I know that, but I did learn that teaching wasn’t a scary thing. And looking back, I realize that I didn’t hate school because I was dumb or didn’t like learning. I hated school because I was smarter than most of the teachers and they couldn’t keep up with my voracious appetite for learning, and the need to go at my pace. I hated busy work and being talked down to. The whole affair was just a constant insult of my intelligence.
So I guess I’ll soon find out if I’m one of those teachers who can make kids want to learn, or at least make the abominable sentence of high school somewhat bearable. More likely, I’ll probably get fired for joking around with my students about the latest episode of South Park and letting them play violent games in my class. Yup. That sounds ‘bout right.
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