Back in the '80s, I was teaching freshman composition at Eastern Michigan University while working toward my masters in American Lit....I certainly wasn't going to get a job where I had to spend my evenings reading themes on how some pasty-faced kid spent his summer vacation...I think of myself as a writer; I'm a graduate student in English who considers reading bad student papers a form of torture. I'm realizing that a career doing what I'm doing now may end up causing me regret about how I could've been doing something more intense than teaching about the proper placement of commas after prepositional phrases. More:
I think these people don't realize that it really doesn't take all that much courage to change their life. I don't care if we're talking about working out religiously, changing jobs, getting out of a bad relationship, or moving to a different town. Believe me, you can't lose.When I think of being a college professor, I think of the respect the position affords, the hours, summers off, and the high pay given the other factors. But what I've learned in graduate school is that pedagogy, the actual theory of teaching that one follows to not merely be brilliant but to make others brilliant, is supremely draining. Thus there's a grain of truth to the statement, "Those who can't, teach." Actually, those who can go to teaching, but end up burned out by the effort it takes to teach others to do. Make sense?
The only guy I can think of that seems really happy being a college English professor is the prof who got assigned to be my "mentor" when I came to Tucson. He lives in the "space" (a favorite word of his) of the discipline, in analyzing the most random of things with the tropes of critical theory, talking 95 mph about the most obscure of things. I'm sort of like that, but every day that I get up, I feel like doing something more than sitting around alone and reading, and then sitting around and talking about reading, and sitting around playing video games -- the three activities that my ex-"mentor" seems to spend most of his time on. That's good for him, but that kind of existence sounds so sedentary!
I want to be in a helicopter, fly to a car pileup on an interstate, pull somebody out of a burning car, rescuscitate them, throw them on my back, and fly in the helicopter to the emergency room. That would be sweet. I think I'd be happier with my life in danger in one form or another.