What have I been doing the last few months, aside from working with clients and doing music and running lines (and being a camp counselor) for this actor’s workshop down in Tuscany that my friend Katharina did annually before the pandemic and has begun again (finally!), and why have I been so distracted by it that I couldn’t blog regularly? Or do my normal social media things on LinkedIn? Pinterest?
I’ve been teaching.
My uncle David’s career was in the toilet before he died, and he decided to go teach, which was rather courageous of him considering what he’d done all those years promoting US cotton in far-flung corners of the world, wasn’t easy to sell as a teachable course or set of courses. His mother, my maternal grandmother, had studied sociology and even worked on her doctorate at a time when women didn’t necessarily do graduate work even in the social sciences. Both of his sisters, my aunt and my mother, took education seriously and both studied at graduate levels and even taught at all levels over their careers.
Teaching has been in my family, at least on my mother’s side for at least three generations, and despite the lousy pay, depending on where and what you teach I suppose, it’s one of the most honourable professions. However, because I grew up hearing my mom whinge about how poorly they’re paid, I sometimes unconsciously downplay its value and tell my wife I never want to teach again.
Then I’m offered another course, and if it’s one of many things I’m doing? I’m normally happy with it. Learned long ago that my career has been a series of starts and stops, and over time I’ve learned to accept that. Now? The classes have been taught, the exams proctored and the grades turned in.
Back to the real world, and time with young people just starting this journey? Invaluable.
Reminds me of what my dad said when I was in my early twenties and still figuring out my place in the world. He’d listen to whatever I was going through, and respond, ‘Ken, I’m glad I don’t ever have to be 22 again’.
It sounds sarcastic, but that wasn’t his point. He helped me see that my daily struggle was temporal. That we all go through rough times, and his example?
If you can take yourself a bit less seriously and smile while going through the shit? All the better.