One of the items I worked on this week was originally produced while I was an MFA student. It was my critical/seminar essay titled: Is it Over? Finding Poetic Closure. I have it out to a reader after a lengthy revision.
I thought, however, that the title was also fitting to close out the four day Teacher Research Conference that I attended at UNCC this week. I’m not sure I have even come close to digesting all the terrific conversations I’ve had. I wrote a blog each day this week, tying them to regular topics discussed here. Monday it was thinking about balance (health, life etc), Tuesday I focused in on the connections we make that perhaps try to pull us towards some kind of final equilibrium/balance/sense of closure (with some TV watching reviews worked in). And yesterday I worked some book reviews while discussing the particularly online connections that we make. I’m still getting back to a few comments as well, but I’m glad that several people have kept up with me this week as I went through this second summer of professional development for a career in teaching.
One thing I found myself thinking about today as I tied up loose ends on remaining projects (and a new poem draft that was really recycling an old poem!) was how I’ve been (off and on) unsure about my career choice as a teacher. To work in academics is to be constantly seeking and questioning. When, like a writing life, do you shut off from all of it? Can you? I’ve been trying to decide where to take my career next. I’ve felt scattered, but it came to me today that this isn’t unlike how I felt in my first years working as a claims adjuster.
Everyday there was always a new type of claim to handle, or a new topic to discover. Sometimes that became too much and I doubted myself. I wanted to be “good” and thus successful. Becoming a “good” teacher takes time and I’ll never stop learning. I think I realized at the end of today that I need to cut myself a little bit of slack.
I don’t think I’ve made a final decision about whether or not I’ll continue on with my education or continue trying to publish academically versus creatively, but the conversations I had this week gave me insights into how other educators feel at different grade levels and different job classes about these same issues.
I can’t thank the participants from this week enough for those opportunity. And maybe, next time, I’ll have more to say – a better voice in the conversation