Why I Teach


I read this quote on another blog, and it sums up so well why I teach.

“For me, teaching is about love. It is not about transferring information, but rather creating an atmosphere of mystery and imagination and discovery. When I begin to lose myself because of some unresolved pain or fears or the overpowering feelings of shame, then I no longer teach . . . I deliver information and I think I become irrelevant then.”

Since I teach at a small private in the South, I make very little money. I continue to teach at a private school because I am not allowed to get a teacher’s certificate to teach in Alabama’s public schools because I don’t hold an education degree. My degrees are all in history. When people find out, just how little I make as a teacher, they are often shocked and the response is usually, “You must really love teaching.” The truth is that I do love teaching. As the quote above says, “It is not about transferring information, but rather creating an atmosphere of mystery and imagination and discovery.” I love my job; I love my coworkers; and I love my students, no matter how aggravating they can be.

I would love to be somewhere besides Alabama so that I could live in an environment that is more LGBT-friendly. I don’t expect to live in Alabama forever, but with the current job market for history teachers, I do have a job with which I am happy. When I find a job in a more LGBT-friendly environment, then I’d weigh my options and consider it, but for now, I am happy. For now, I will continue working on finishing my dissertation, so that I can complete my Ph.D.

By the way, tomorrow, I go back to court for my speeding ticket. I called the court to get it continued because it was going to be incredibly difficult for my witness to get off work; however, the clerk of the court refused to continue my trial because, technically, the district attorney had already continued it once. I find it an incredibly dirty trick by the DA who set the original trial for the afternoon of the first hearing knowing that it was unlikely for the state trooper to be there, because now he was able to have full control of when the trial would be and I would not be able to continue it, no matter how inconvenieced my witness or I would be. I may not win, but I will have my day in court. I teach my students all the time about our rights and the equal justice of our judicial system. I am putting my faith in the fact that justice will prevail and an innocent man can actual prove his innocence, even if the DA and the clerks office treats me as if I am already guilty.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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