Wednesday, 21 September 2011

on education and staying in it

Things feel a little different, this year. They feel much more poignant and appreciated--in many ways, much more settled and real.

This walk back into school--this metaphorical walk back into school--is important, and it'll take place next week. (We start late, here. So very, very late). It may very well be my last and that, that thought, is frightening. I don't want to leave education. I feel at my best here. I feel grounded and secure and focused. That back-to-school feeling, for me, is energising and invigorating. It makes me produce with a renewed mentality. It makes me soak up and savour detail. (So it is not a bad security at all.)

For a long, long time, I wanted to teach--and no, not just because it was a way to stay in this educational frame. It was all I really practised as a child. Standing in front of my mirror with a white-board marker, I'd write chunks of text on my reflection. My invisible, quiet class would listen--and sometimes, when they wouldn't, I would shout. This want carried on throughout high-school and college (though the physical practise of acting it out, did not) and, until my first few semesters were over, it was there. But then I realised that it was pretty much every student's response when asked what they wanted to do with an English degree. And it was an arbitrary response, at that. It was something they said to fill a gap in conversation and something they would no doubt pursue because they didn't quite know what they wanted to do. And so a faculty of lacklustre teachers begins. How does a generation teach a following generation without passion? (No, really, how does that work?). If I was to become a teacher, I would have passion. I already do in the conversations I propose with friends and family about just what this system needs. (It needs a lot). I want to teach. Some day, but not this day. Right now--this year and next and, probably, next--I do not want to go into that profession. I do not want to become part of a faculty that does not love its act. I don't know how the teachers that do--the teachers that really, really stimulate and inspire--do it. And for that, for every good teacher that there is, I have my admiration.

So for the last couple of months--perhaps a year--I have known this. And I have mulled it over again and again. I have looked at my career options and I have wondered just where this place I am meant to go, goes. The truth is--I don't have the answers. I don't know where, exactly, I am supposed to go next summer. Where, once this undergraduate degree has released me from its grasp, I turn for the next challenge and pursuit. I have my thoughts--my hopes--my wishes. But I cannot say them, out loud, without a nervousness.

But this year--and a year I count from September to the following September, so ingrained in me it is--there are a few things I want to work on. Like getting that degree--and safely. (There is a benchmark of numbers that I aim for: a framework; a border). Like finding a job and earning enough and stumbling across a space of my own--or rather: ours. A space to breathe and flex and stretch in our own way on our own time. Like falling in love with writing, again. Not the idea of it--not the theory or the planning or the thinking of it--but the doing. (That novel is still sitting on my desktop. It has a breath of potential, perhaps, but it needs flesh. A good meal and a good hydration of beauty). Like learning skills, transferable, life skills--but skills I do enjoy. (I want to make dresses--I want to learn how). Like learning a language--and practising it. Like deciding on whether or not an MA is possible, logistically. (And right now: right now the compulsion to do it is wild and fighting and strong).

So September means a little more to me, this year. And I am trying to relish every single one of its little falling leaves--the real ones and, I suppose, the ones of opportunity: the ones of thought.


  1. The first step in finding answers is figuring out you don't have answers (yet). So I'm thinking you're on the right track! I finished university five years ago and I always look back on it as a wonderful time! Sounds like you are doing a lot of thinking and searching for passion!

  2. I love that you're giving it serious thought, rather than going with what's easy :) I jumped into teaching because I was scared, and have regretted it ever since. So good on you for deciding to find something that you're passionate about!

  3. you gorgeous girl--you lovely, introspective, self-aware girl who will go into the world in whatever field she may choose today or tomorrow or next september and light the world on fire. i do believe the best things come from letting go of what we thought we knew.