Sunday, October 3, 2010

Life Choices

I've always wondered what I wanted to do when I grew up. Sure, I'm pretty old now, but I keep changing my mind. I've been teaching English for over 17 years now... and it's been great... but my husband brought up a question last night, and I'm truly unsure what to answer.

We are in the process of applying for all sorts of jobs for him--well, the same job in all sorts of places across the country--and while some of the colleges that may hire him would be open to my teaching as well, many will not be. Thus, he will suddenly be very, very official, work long hours, and have a fantastic paycheck to do what he truly loves doing, but I might find it pretty difficult to find any teaching work at all.

He'll ask once he gets the call, but last night he wondered aloud whether I even wanted to teach right now. If money were no object (and it would not be), would I want to teach, or not?

I don't know the answer. I love teaching (though I hate grading), but it also takes up a huge portion of my day. I intended to blog this morning, but because I was reading student rough drafts until mid-afternoon, I am only blogging now. And I still haven't written a word of my current novel revision.

I love the social aspect of teaching--and the students are motivated and happy and excited to be there, at least once they catch my enthusiasm--but the grading is really time consuming (since I teach English).

If I don't teach, I suddenly become the official spouse, using the time to write, clean house, paint, exercise, help my kids with homework, sew, etc. It isn't that I wouldn't be busy... nobody keeps busy like I do. I'd be able to volunteer in so many ways, and maybe, just maybe, I'd get some book published.

But I'd miss teaching. It might take a semester or two to realize it, but I'd long for the classroom... and I'd feel a bit lazy, planning out gourmet dinners for the family, spending time on luxuries I couldn't concentrate on before. Is this the way it's supposed to be? Should I just count myself lucky and take the chance?

What do all of you think? The post has only made me more confused. I know I'll talk to the hubby again, probably tonight, but I know most of you have good judgment. Let me know what you see...


  1. Being an author is a job. You would spend your time not only being the spouse, mother, and homekeeper, but researcher as well (just as you do now, only you would have more time for it.) Having the time freed up from grading papers gives your the opportunity to be more expansive in your research, so the face time you miss with your students could be replaced with face time elsewhere.

    I took your English 101 class this past spring, and I really think that the most exciting part of the course was simply listening to you. You have a way with words and are incredibly funny. Have you ever thought of just being a guest speaker for different events or a professional lecturer?

  2. Musing is a good thing,,,, I can relate, but I have the type of personality jump first then wonder how or where will I land....or if I even packed a parachute>>>>life is an adventure -- explore you have the gift and are very talented...


  3. Only you can decide. I couldn't be just the wife, I couldn't, but I could stay home and write if I had the opportunity. I'd love that. I'm not the social sort.

    Having said that, I've missed work and deadlines, structure and challenge.

    The bottom line, in my opinion, is that only you can decide what you need and what you don't. Perhaps, you'd be better off running a writer's circle (no grading) but still getting interaction and an opportunity to teach. Maybe you can get just one class on-line to fill your needs.

    Maybe you'll find your groove as the social wife and mother.

    Maybe you'll never know until you try.

    Good luck figuring it out.

  4. While I have an opinion this is one of those questions where:
    A)My opinion does not and should not matter
    B)You know you a hell of a lot better than I do.

    Ya on ya's own with you, the old man, and kids on this one.

  5. Go with the flow. You can always get a teaching job--even if it takes a while. There are so few great teachers out there, there will undoubtedly be a place for you.

    On the other hand, a forced vacation has to be good for writing.

  6. As others have stated, only you can decide, but let me give you my point of view (take it for what it’s worth)

    If I could stay at home and pursue writing, and spend more time with my kids… I wouldn’t hesitate to do that—especially if money wasn’t an issue.

    You can always teach writing classes or open a editing service, I know the sample you did for me blew me away… it help hone my writing, condense the “true”meaning I was trying to convey, it shaped it to something worth reading.
    Now if you can do that for me, you can do that for anyone.

    You have to ask yourself this: what would make you happy… being able to guide your kids through the hardest part of their life, be more involved in everything they do, spend the appropriate time on your writing projects, spend more time in the field of writing plays or even directing them… basically doing what you want when you want?

    That sound like even to me.
    I’m sure you kind find places to teach if you want, when you want.

    You already know where the road leads that you’re on now… so why not try the other road and see if you like it. You can always go back to teaching and “grading papers” if you want.

    Either way, I wish you the best and I hope you find the answer you’re looking for.

  7. Kerstin, I will save your comments FOREVER. And when I am a fully published and famous author, I'll travel all over the country speaking and reading from my books. In the meantime, I'll read your comments every single day for the rest of my life.

    joanny, yes, I need to explore it all, try things out...Stephanie agrees with you, it seems... as does The Mother.

    Really, none of you are bossing me around, yet the fact that you aren't screaming at me to NOT do something is a good sign. I'm great at going with the flow, and I'll figure out where I'm headed when I get there... thanks for all of your comments, everybody!

  8. Whether you choose to teach or not doesn't make you the spouse. You are already that and so is he. Instead you take on new roles... writer, blogger, whatever. I'm self-employed as a freelance writer, editor and photographer after years working for someone else. Now, rather than working 8 hours at a job, I work 10 or more hours a day working at what I love.

    You'll figure it out... enjoy!

  9. My advice is to think about it carefully, though I can see you're already doing so. Have contingency plans and don't burn any boats. If it's the face to face contact with people or students you enjoy so much, it's hard to replace by working from home. Part time work may be the answer, to give you that contact and structure to your week. I allowed myself to be "poached" from a job I loved into one where I worked remotely and I had a very hard time adapting.

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