When I chose to become a Language Arts teacher, I thought what better career could there be? If I can’t be writing, I can at least be teaching others how to write. Since then, helping students learn to communicate effectively has been my joy, but also my challenge. As an employed teacher, I have so much less personal reading and writing time than I had as a writer. (I also have better health care and health care insurance, a steadier income, and of course, those three months of summer when I can be just a writer again.)
When September rolls around, it is always hard to let go of that writing-only lifestyle. However, with the big changes rumbling through our school districts with implementation of the Common Core State Standards, I am finding satisfaction in trying to help make the adjustment to more stringent literacy standards easier for both my colleagues and students.
In addition, I have come into this new school year committed to maintaining my own reading and writing lifestyle, even if in a more abbreviated form. How am I doing it?
- I’m coming home from work and working on writing for an hour at least three days per week.
- I am continuing to read writing periodicals and blogs. Because my husband and I commute together and he starts working earlier than I do, I use my early half hour at work to read about ways to continue building my skills and keep up with what’s happening in the writing world.
- I am making myself go to bed early so I can get in at least an hour of reading time before going to sleep. (Is there anything more comfortable than reading in bed!)
- I am committing to having something to share at my writing critique group meetings. (I once challenged one of my writing friends saying, “Anyone can bring a page.” Last spring she had the opportunity to hand that challenge back to me. And it’s true. We have two weeks between meetings. I should be able to bring at least a page.)
And so far, I feel pretty balanced. Yes, I yearn for more time to write and revise my fiction. However, I am also finding satisfaction in my time spent in the classroom. I feel like I am contributing to something worthwhile.
So, three weeks into the school year, how’s my balance? I can report that so far it is feeling pretty good. And by the grace of God, I can hope that it will stay that way.