Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fear not, fear not, thou wedding guest...

This body dropt not down.

But it would like to.

Teaching is an honor, touches lives, is a sacred duty...all that stuff that gets carved into plaques and printed on t-shirts with letters from the alphabet and pictures of apples. It is also a whole heap of intellectual and spirtual work. And, ironically, if you don't watch out, it can eat away at what you loved about your discipline in the first place. So I watch out. And repeat the Rime like a mantra.

Thank goodness for my colleagues, for my office teacup, for Rice Krispy Treat Day in the cafeteria (Wednesdays!), for review copies of Norton's anthologies coming to the department addressed to me (because that is EXCITING, dear reader!), for getting assigned to one of the last classrooms with a chalkboard, for a big ol' New York salary, for the deer that hang around on campus, for occasional excuses to go around in voluminous robes, for sharing a building with the library, for getting to write "professor" on surveys that ask for my employment, for spring break and summer break and Christmas break, for all kinds of good things about my college.

Because students wear me out when they are worn out, brilliant, struggling, triumphing, asking, answering, arguing, revolting, rebelling, discovering, talking, thinking, growing weary, growing wary, needing this and that...It's sometimes like being overrun by puppies. And my students are adults! How schoolteachers survive I can't imagine.

My students are karma. Everything I ever did to a professor is being done to me. I kind of wish I'd been the sort of student who sits quietly in the back and just hands in her work. But oh no...In English I spoke all the time and was always sure I was right. In math I refused to try. In science I baaaarely paid attention and didn't do the reading very often. In history I came to class every day with a defensive attitude. In geography I daydreamed. I didn't do much in political science...because I skipped it so often to play guitar out on the lawn with the other truants. Now, I'm paying.

But it's still the best job I can imagine. Except "housewife." And I'm terribly unqualified and unsuccessful at that one.

So I am not really complaining...I'm just saying I'm tired. I don't want to hear a voice. I don't want to see a word. I want to pile two little dogs on my feet and lie in the dark and think about when the lake might melt.

It is an Ancient Mariner, and he stoppest one of three...

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