Last night I finished my Poetry class--what an interesting quarter it has been.
And next quarter, I'm not teaching. And after that, I'm not sure.
I'm the Assistant Chair of our department, so it's not like I won't have plenty to do. But part of me feels strange. I haven't ever taken a break from teaching (except for school breaks, like Christmas vacation) since I started teaching in 1988.
And I've taught a lot. As soon as I completed my M.A. in 1989, I started teaching as many classes as the community college would give me, while continuing to work as a T.A. while working on my Ph.D. I've never had the luxury of having a summer off.
In the last year, since my job transitioned into a more traditional, 40+ hour a week, office job, I've still taught 1 class a quarter--4 classes a year, a heavier load than some people with tenure.
I've enjoyed that, because I've moved away from Composition classes and gotten to teach primarily Creative Writing classes, primarily Poetry classes. I like that I've continued to read alertly, always on the lookout for poems that my classes might enjoy. Often, a class has inspired an idea for a poem that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
And unlike years when I taught 5-8 classes at a time, teaching one class a term doesn't leave me too exhausted to do my own writing. Unfortunately the other demands of my job often do.
So, it's an experiment. I won't return to teaching until July, at the earliest. I expect to miss the interactions with students, and I expect to miss the classes that make me feel like I've inspired people--it's that old drama major in me who loves the thrill of being onstage. I don't expect to miss the aggravation of having copies to make, lesson plans to dream up, grading to do.
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