Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Okay Then

In my last blog entry, I wrote the following:

"...This is an effect I've noticed before: when I do a significant amount of teaching, my creative output plummets. Why? And, does this mean that I should simply avoid teaching, or does it meant that my challenge is to learn how to teach while still living creatively?"

The next day, I got a phone call offering me a full-time teaching job for next year (one-year term appointment).

In that moment, it became clear that the answer was the second option--partly because, well, financial concerns do matter.

So in my own words, then, "my challenge (for next year) is to learn how to teach while still living creatively." I suspect what I need to do is to "teach creatively," i.e., to bring my creative spirit to all that I do--even to seemingly dry topics such as solving mathematical equations.

And while I still don't conceive of teaching math as a long-term career*, meeting this challenge can give me the experience necessary to better accomplish whatever comes next.

*I've had some thoughts recently about this as well, but the direction of those thoughts is so terrifying that I can't quite bring myself to talk about them yet, even on a semi-anonymous blog.

I've spent the last two years without a full-time job, giving me the luxury of lots of time for reflection and searching--a luxury which, frankly, I haven't always made good use of. I think I'm leaving the woods for real this time, returning to the world and bringing all the benefits of my personal efforts along with me.


  1. If you manage to pull off the "teaching creatively" trick, you probably won't have much urge or energy to write creatively too.

    But please, for all our sakes - write anyway. You'll be glad you did. It doesn't have to be creative - just a dull, factual account of what you did today will be helpful.

    If you make the effort, have the discipline, to do that, several good things will happen. Most importantly: in five years' time, when you're facing some other creative challenge, you'll be able to look back and see what you were thinking during this time.

  2. I was duped by the headlines of Cosmopolitan Magazine in the 80s that said I could do it all, be it all, have it all.

    They lied.

    But. It is possible to find a way to balance the work with the other stuff... not only possible, but crucial, I believe, to living happy days. Otherwise, what's the point? The universe has thrown the gauntlet at your feet. Pick it up and keep writing.

  3. 1.) I think that you can master the "teaching creatively" challenge, and
    2.) I am starting to think that there really is something to be said for wrangling a day job and separating your worth and life as a person from what you do to pay the bills.
    3.) This is going to be the fastest summer in the history of the universe, and I am excited for it.

  4. At my advanced age, I am finally learning what La Archer says in Item 2; sometimes, it really is just a day job. That aside, having a day job--particularly one like teaching--can exhaust you. Write weekends, maybe?

    (p.s. sorry I haven't been around much)