Children, Teaching, and Dreams Deferred

Like many English majors during their college years, I scoffed with disdain when met with the all-too familiar, well-meaning query: Do you plan to teach?

And like many English majors post-graduation, I ended up becoming a teacher.

My feelings about my profession toss and turn as wildly as the tiny human in my uterus. How long do I want to stay here? Am I even any good? What else could I do if I left? I remember instructing rows and rows of silent, pleasantly complacent dolls and stuffed animals in addition and subtraction, and later on, in photosynthesis and mitosis. I mimicked my teachers’ mannerisms and teaching styles as I elucidated on the symbolism in Jane Eyre; gesticulated wildly as I rattled off the causes of the Civil War. Teaching was how I learned, and it was in my blood: my father taught high school for over twenty years. It was inevitable, I suppose, which is probably the reason for my instinctive resistance and subsequent easy surrender.

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