Learning that Teaching is Learning

Beth - Adrian, Michigan
Entered on November 29, 2007

As I listened to the wind rattling the windows this morning at 6:30, I had a moment of senioritis. I have been teaching for 26 years and for the first time, I am having a hard time motivating myself to get to school. The fierce November wind was enough today to make me wish I could call in… old. But I dragged myself through my morning ablutions, fed the dog, and braved the weather to drive the short disance to the small college where I teach. Heading into the eight o’clock class, my face felt tired and I knew I’d have to fake a smile in order to get a real one going. But, then, as I walked into the room and saw 20 freshmen, their faces sleepier than mine, independently typing away at their stories, I began to grin. And, as I sat down to proofread for one young man he smiled and said,

“I am taking your creative writing class next semester.” Cool, I thought.

“Oh, yeah?” I said.

These are my students. They are tired, hungry, and probably overwhelmed with their first semester of college, and yet they are here, working, taking me seriously. And suddenly, again, I am in love with what I do. I get these fantastic opportunities to bask in the vibes of people on the verge of adulthood.

They are survivors of adolescence, and they seem to know that they have arrived at a point of discovery. And I am one of the lucky witnesses to that journey. From the girl who has an eating disorder, I have learned that writing about it doesn’t necessarily make it better. From the boy who plays football I have learned that becoming a man can happen when you cry.

And for the next few years, as I look for inspiration to keep on keepin’ on, I will look no further than my glorious students.