Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I'm going to college right now to be an English teacher. It's not what I want to do with my life, I want to become a writer, but I realize that the chances of that are slim, and, at the least, I need to have something to do until I get published. Besides, Stephen King and Dean Koontz were both English teachers before they made it big.

My choice to pursue English education wasn't really passion, it just seemed to be the most logical choice. After all, I was good at English, so the choices of field seemed limited. Journalism wasn't my cup of tea when I had it in high school (then again, that might have been because I was never given any of the good stories. Only headlines like “Math Club Wins State Competition”...whoo...) and I didn't see any other jobs except writing and being an English teacher.

Being a teacher was never a calling. I never watched my teachers and thought, man, I wish I were doing that. But I thought it was the best career for my talents.

The ironic thing is, I hate public speaking, and just trying to do my Biology final presentation almost made me have an asthma attack. I got all panicky, I felt hot and cold at the same time, and when I started speaking, my face turned bright red. It always does. When I thought about that the other day, I wondered, Why am I even doing this? This job is public speaking everyday! I tried not to think about it, I tried not to dwell on the fact that I might be totally ruining my chance to get a good job after this. I feared I was wasting my time and money.

Today I had my second class of Classroom Communications and Public Speaking for Teachers.

I think I'll be okay, now.


S.M.D. said...

I'm very much the same, actually, and I also am working towards a teaching degree in English...rather weird that we're so alike :S. I hate public speaking and get all nervous and freaked just like you...are you my clone?

Jean said...

The secret to speaking in front of people is to do it a time or two. Then it gets easier.

As as far as a passion for teaching, I hope you'll develop a taste for it -- sometimes the taste and the passion are acquired rather than innate.

As for job prospects, there are a lot of things you can do with a BA -- if nothing else, it tells an employer you can stick with something and follow enough directions and rules to achieve that goal. That says more than you might think to an employer. The specifics of many jobs can be taught. The intangible things the BA indicates you can do are harder to come by. That's a long-winded way of saying the education will pay off in other areas if teaching doesn't work out for you.

Jaye Patrick said...

I recall at Uni having to fortify myself with some alcoholic beverages before being able to make a presentation in front of six other people.

I'm actually quite good at it once I get going, but puking beforehand isn't seen as 'good thing'.

Teaching will pay the bills while you become a writer, Jason. All you have to do is decide which is more important and focus on it when you can.

MerylF said...

The first time I gave a lecture (200 students, yikes!) I thought I was going to die. A couple of weeks later and I was fine. 6 years down the track and I can talk in front of any audience, anywhere. Like Jean says, the secret is to just keep doing it.

PJ Hoover said...

I forced myself to offer to give a speech at the bookstore in July. OK, we're only in January now, but I'm already thinking about it.
But... I figured only by forcing myself to do stuff like that will I ever get better. And then come school visits. I need to convince myself kids aren't scary - at least elementary age kids aren't scary.
It's like my Kung Fu teacher says - only daily challenge leads to transformation.

Have fun! And when you are a teacher, please pick interesting books for your kids to read.

Wendy said...

Oh, god. Public Speaking gives me panic attacks. But I do think that after doing it a few times, you get used to it. I hope that works for you, it hasn't for me!

Oh! things are okay with my parents. When I got home, I found out my mom almost fainted when I didn't call, so that only made me feel even more guilty - god, that woman is the queen of guilty trips! but everything's okay now. :)

Barrie said...

Well, it seems as though there's a common theme. Most of us don't like public speaking. But, if we do it often enough, we get over the panic. I think I really better do the Toastmaster thing. Not just haphazardly.

Jason said...

s.m.d. I dunno. I think I'm just me...but there is that 7 year gap in my memory...

jean Thanks. I wondered how being good at English would help me if I wasn't a good teacher.

jaye Yea, right before I have to go up there, I kinda wish I could fortify myself with something, too.

merylf Wow, 200! I was panicked about 20, :D.

PJ Good luck with that, when it comes. Just try not to think of the kids rushing the stage and...oh... :D

Oh, and don't worry. That was one of the things I hated about English -- their horrible choice in books.

Wendy I'm glad things worked out with your parents. I think all moms have to have a degree in guilt trippery before they can graduate "mom school."

barrie That sounds like an interesting idea. I'd never heard of that, but maybe I should do that, too, ha ha.

Wendy said...

I think you're totally right, even with a look they can make us feel really guilty about the smallest thing - it's really unfair!