As I’ve recently started my fourteenth year of teaching, I’ve become especially reflective. I never chose teaching. Frankly (I’ve never used that word before), I didn’t know what else to do. So as I think about teaching, writing, life, I tend to wonder about teaching, writing, life. I thought I wanted to teach college. Maybe I still do want that. But after reading this article in The Millions, and reading the article by Jesse Browner in this month’s Poets & Writers regarding living the Bohemian life versus job security, I’ve come to realize, I am content teaching high school. I don’t know that I would have written two books had I not taught high school. Several poems in the books pertain to my job and I have written/started many of the other poems in the books at work. I also don’t know I would’ve been able to obtain an MFA had it not been for the flexibility of my job (due to my years of service). I generally get to school an hour early and leave about 3:00. Not bad hours. I’m able to squeeze in writing throughout the day, and inspire a life or two in the process. I could piece together a number of adjunct jobs, but the pay would be nowhere close to what I make now. No, it’s not easy teaching high school and trying to establish a writing career, but so far, it’s working. I tell myself that more and more. It’s working.
“The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.”