I consider teaching my "real job". Not because the library isn't a real job, just because I love teaching, I look forward to teaching, and I would probably trade a kidney at this point for a full-time position at the junior college where I work, for the summer, two nights a week. I get more fulfillment out of teaching, especially the developmental English and reading classes, because most of these people are turned off. Turned off to reading, turned off to writing, turned off to language. It's challenging and more than a little bit fun to try to turn 'em back on.
I love my job SO MUCH right now because of something that happened yesterday:
A woman in my night class came into the library. My students know I work there and this particular student came in excited.
"Miss M_____! I'm so glad you're here!"
Well, I never hear that at the 'brary, so I turned around so fast my head got a little Exorcist action. She walked up to the desk clutching a copy of The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket, and said, "I finished it already!! I took it to the doctor with me and finished it!" My eyes nearly goggled out of my head.
I gave the reading class an optional project to read The Bad Beginning and do a take-home exam of it. This takes a little pressure off of the two book tests we have, and most importantly, it breaks up the monotony of doing book work in class every night. I was sure they'd all sneer and look at me like a 5-headed sea snake, but to my delight, they ALL accepted the assignment. The student who came into the library told me at the beginning of the course that she'd never done much work in school because she was a bully type who played sports. 'Nuff said. She's really motivated to come back to school and get a medical certificate so she doesn't have to drive as far to work every day, be such a peon to her shitty boss, and make something of herself all around. She doesn't read. She's not comfortable with it--but she's willing to do her best to excel in my class, yadda yadda.
Last week was a rocky week. She struggled a bit with some of the class work, and was a little discouraged overall, but she had her copy of the Snicket with her and she'd already read a few pages. Needless to say I was shocked when she pranced into the library all finished within 4 days. I was even more shocked when she said, "I've never read a book before. I've never read a whole book. I'm keeping this forever."
Stuff like that elates me. Like I wasn't already elated enough. This has gotta be better than drugs.
I'm going to pick up my own copy of the book before work because I need to quickly re-read it before I start giving out the take-homes next week. I chose the book because it's an easy read (for 9-12 year olds), it's fun, and most importantly Snicket (really Daniel Handler) revels in fun with language.
I think I'm gettin' a little teary.