The title won’t make sense until the second half of the post…except for the rambling part 😉
So, I guess I went missing online for a little while, at least of the blog. I’ve been pretty busy working on my new novel and also some short stories.
I also started a new job, which I’m very excited about. As some of you know, I am a former special ed teacher that had to drop down to a substitute because of chronic illness. Subbing is not nearly as satisfying as actual teaching. You’re just a warm body in the classroom to keep the kids from (sometimes literally, depending on the type of class) killing each other. I miss teaching.
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I would like to start tutoring students again.
Right now I’m a floating teacher and TA for BOCES (the NY alternative program for special needs and learning challenges), but I feel like I don’t do enough there. I’m far more effective teaching one-on-one as opposed to a large class. If you know me, you’d know that I’m a very mellow guy and seem to have a way with kids, especially when they’re frustrated with something.
Further more, a lot of my assignments are for students with MR or severe Autism. It’s a completely different form of teaching, and while it is rewarding, I miss teaching in more mainstream programs.
On the side, I’ve been working as a writing coach and editor, but that’s for adults. I’m good at it, and I think that it, combined with my own published work, gives me a very unique skill set.
The plan is to slowly phase out teaching with tutoring. It’ll give me more time to write and edit as well, plus, it’s more rewarding. Every student needs a tutor, because there’s always room to level up.
I’m even considering offering tutoring through Google Hangouts to increase my range. Might as well embrace the new technology, right?
Now for the hard part: actually getting clients.
Today I went back to my old high school to talk to the kids. Something about “inspiring them to achieve their dreams through hard work, you can be anything you want, blah blah blah.” I think most of that is true, but it feels weird to be on the other side of that speech. I don’t know if the kids really bought it.
Everyone treats the fact I wrote a novel to be some amazing achievement. It’s not. It’s the natural culmination of what I’ve been doing since I was right there in the chairs those kids were sitting in. I wasn’t struck by dumb luck or divine inspiration. I went to college for Creative Writing. I graduated and started writing for magazines. I paid my dues. I did all the Charlie-work. I fine tuned my craft. It’s not like this came out of nowhere.
Maybe that’s the point. You can one day say “I’m gonna write a novel,” and do it, but it will probably suck. Writing is like any other craft. You have to study. You have to practice. You have to work your goddamn ass off to get good.
A lot of people ignore that. They take short cuts. It shows.
But back to the topic. I really don’t feel like I’ve done anything extraordinary, because it’s something that I’ve done all my life. If I was to suddenly star in a movie or fly a plane, that would be extraordinary. A writer writes, that’s what he’s meant to be. Writing is like breathing, and there’s no other way for a writer to live.
So I went back to school. I said a few words, signed a book, took pictures with the staff and kids. All the while I was thinking about what to write next.
I told you, it’s like breathing.
PS: I almost forgot, yesterday was my birthday. Happy happy, blah blah blah