After more than 20 years of teaching, I’m done. While, most teachers in my position will keep going, racking up an even higher salary – which would in turn get one a higher pension upon retirement. Although I’m not yet at optimum retirement age, I am ready to move on to another phase of professional life.
So what’s next? Good question.
Woody Allen said, “Those who can – do. Those who can’t – teach. Those who can’t teach – teach gym.” While I do not entirely subscribe to that, largely because I have several relatives who are gym teachers, but I do consider it a challenge for one to prove ability. So, this would be my turn.
One of the lesser aspects of teaching was how teachers are judged, which is mainly by the performance of their students. If kids do well, we’re geniuses. Genii. We’re great. If kids do poorly, we suck. Unfortunately, more and more kids are coming to school without the right “programming” to do their best. I could go on with my theories as to why, and you may or may not agree, but I’ll save that for when asked. The point is that I no longer want to be judged by the performance of others. I want to be judged by my own performance. Based on the feedback I’m getting on WordPress, I’m doing the right thing.
For many years I was the guy who often had to send out random notes to the entire building about boring topics that nobody wanted to read yet everyone needed to have the information. I slowly began to inject some humor into those notes. I would make comments about people, but I safely chose those who were friends and wouldn’t mind. In fact, they liked it. Some people even asked why they weren’t featured. For example, there might have been a meeting after school about an upcoming fundraiser. I added a blurb at the end which said, “And please keep your eyes on Mr. Smith during the fund raiser. Last year he mysteriously went missing for a week, came back with a fabulous tan and a Spanish accent, but none of the money was accounted for.” And people would say, “Why are you teaching? You should be writing. Or hosting a game show.” I really would love to host a game show.
Anyway, it’s writing and not a game show. I’m in the process of finishing up my third novel. No, fourth. And I’m in the process of querying agents. And I’m soon going to be in the process of collecting rejections. Everyone wants to know the secret of getting an agent, getting a book published, and I’ve been reading about it as much as I can. The one thing that almost every published writer seems to say is, “Don’t give up.” So, I’m counting on that. Not giving up. I’ll keep the letters going out, and I’ll take the rejections when they come in. And I’ll send more, and I’ll get more. And when I’ve hit every agent, then I’ll pitch one of the other books. I have four now, and I have four outlines waiting. And I bet I can come up with four more after that. People who have read my work have said that they can’t imagine an agent passing up on my work. However, that’s what people should say, even if it sucks. Well, maybe not that far. Maybe something like, “Yeah, that’s good,” if it sucks. Hard to say.
So, in the mean time: Don’t give up.