One of the reason that I've been so busy lately is that I'm teaching A LOT this fall. I'm actually teaching 3 classes in the Metals + Jewelry and Interdisciplinary Object Design programs at Towson University. I'm also helping coach cross country at the local middle school/high school again. Plus, I recently completed my LCI training through the League of American Bicyclists, and I'll be attempting to teach a few bike classes this fall as well.
All of this is a long way of saying that I've come to the following conclusion - I love teaching!
I know I said a while back (I can't find the exact post) that I was done with teaching, but I was wrong. I think I've grown a lot in the past year, and I've come to understand just how important teaching is to me and my own creativity. I think I've also learned a lot about myself as a teacher - things that are helping with my stress levels so that I don't reach the burn out that led me to take last fall off.
I've frequently joked that if I could, I would be a lifetime student if only I could afford it. I've now come to realize that teaching is learning (and I get paid for it). I feel like I have freedom to learn, and play, and experiment, and hopefully get to pass that new information on to my students.
I'm also understanding how much the environment I'm teaching in has a lot to do with my happiness level. I'm lucky to teach with some truly amazing people at Towson, and I'm grateful I keep getting asked back to teach.
Something else I've realized is that I can actually be a rather competitive (and dare I say, jealous) person. When I see someone with a successful business, its hard to quash the voices in my head saying, "why her, not me?" I'm not proud of that, but its true. With my students and the kids I coach, I'm the complete opposite. I want only amazing things for them. I want them to be more successful than me. Its an amazing feeling to see the accomplishments my students make, and know that I helped them (even if it was just a little) a long the way.
I'm also starting to understand (with a little help from Seth Godin) that teaching is an incredibly effective, personal form of advocacy. Instead of screaming from the rooftops in the hope that someone hears me, I have a slightly smaller audience that is actually listening. Teaching can be a powerful tool in the pay it forward method of advocacy. If I can reach 3 people, and each of them reaches 3 people, and so on, suddenly so many people are impacted.
At this point, I still can't honestly say that I want a full time teaching job at a university. Even after all the growing, I still don't think I'm ready for the all the bureaucracy. But I am happy to continue teaching and coaching and learning along the way, because I can now honestly say, even on the hard days, that I love it.
Thanks for reading.