I'm not sure what makes people good teachers. I know I've had good teachers, though. I've had teachers who have pissed me off so much I've excelled despite them. I took a class from a writer who humiliated me so intensely in class, I cried all the way home from the workshop, thinking I was a failure. By the time I arrived home, I had decided that she couldn't tell me what I could do and I vowed not to give up. Even now, I think about her, the way she said, "Well, Jessica couldn't write a sex scene. Let's see if someone else can."
For god's sake, I write romance novels now! Sex scenes I can write.
There are the teachers who inspire. I had an English teacher in high school who treated us like people, who did not hide the truth of Faulkner and Shakespeare as we read these masters. Who made me laugh, who wanted to kill me me most of the time because I was causing trouble, but who taught me nonetheless.
In college, I met teachers passionate about their fields, desirous to actually help me find my path. Who spent the energy and the time working with us, inviting us to their homes, making school part of life.
There are teachers who teach by the wrong example, by showing me what Id didn't want to do as a teacher or as a person. People who burn out, stop caring and yet keep drawing that paycheck.
Sometimes, I get tired. Sometimes I have teacher meltdown day. Sometimes I wish I were on a beach in Florida with my friend Kris, bobbing in the buoyant water. Some days, I want to chuck all the student writing out window of a moving car, a car going 100 miles an hour down Highway 5. But mostly, I love what I do. I'm honored to teach people, to know enough to try to share it.
I am teaching today at UCLA, a one day class. I'm a little nervous as a contemplate walking up Hilgard to the Public Affairs Building. And I hope to call forth from those teachers who I admire. I hope to bring passion to the class. I hope to avoid causing tears and anguish. I hope to inspire.
Causes Jessica Inclan Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org