I knew I was going to be a teacher one (possibly) sunny day in the seventh grade. Picture it- twelve-year old Kelli scribbling furiously at her desk. We kept a journal in Mrs. Kuhn’s English class and started each day by writing in it. It was actually my favorite part of the day. I still have the journal, filled with silly 12-year old thoughts and “problems”, written in the giant, loopy hand of someone trying to be cool and take up as much space as possible. I’s were dotted with hearts and stars and my name, in the upper right hand corner, took up half of the line.
My handwriting was a sight to behold.
Anyway, I remember writing, probably about my love of whichever Hamby twin I was pining after that year, and then suddenly glancing at Mrs. Kuhn. She was glamorous in a very unglamorous job- in my memory, she is my friend Wedgie, but in the 80’s. This was back when teachers had to have heels and hose. I recall rarely seeing any female teacher in anything but a dress. Mrs. Kuhn always had perfectly coiffed hair, earrings that matched her necklace that complimented her outfit and a good deal of makeup. For being ‘old’ (as she was to my 12-year old self), she was beautiful.
I glanced up at Mrs. Kuhn- she was grading papers and keeping a very close eye on us. There was no computer on her desk, only a big green lesson planner and lots and lots of papers. She was allowed to use the dreaded red pen, so she had a pencil cup, filled to the brim.
Something about the power of that moment- her grading our papers and keeping us completely silenced through journal-writing time- something clicked. I wanted to do that. I wanted to be that. I wanted to grade papers and teach children and match my earrings to my necklace.
And I wanted to teach English. I loved reading, I loved writing. It clearly made the most sense.
And that was that. Now I teach English and I love it and I spend my free time writing and helping kids with essays and…
Actually, in the 10th grade I kind of whined to my mom about ‘losing my music’ if I studied English. She suggested teaching choir. I thought that was stupid. Then I didn’t. And suddenly that made the most sense.
This past weekend, I begin looking inward a little. When I was lying in bed the other night, unable to sleep with too many thoughts running through my head, to calm myself, I ‘wrote’ a children’s book. When I have free time, I read or write. My goal in life is to get ‘my’ book published. I cannot fall asleep at night without having a book on the nightstand. And I hate that I had to buy a Kindle, but it is just not practical to own all the books I own and travel around the world.
I love Austen and the Bronte’s and Fitzgerald and Hemmingway. I love Tolkien and Rowling and Giffin and even Evanovich. I can’t wait to read Harry Potter with my girls and I rarely pass up doing bedtime, even when my wonderful husband offers to do it, because I want to read with them.
So what the freak am I doing teaching music?
I ask again- are you living your passion? Are you one of the lucky few who is able to make money doing the thing they would do for free? If not, what would you be doing, if money and time were no object?