Ah, The Life Of A Teacher / Writer

You know that episode of Seinfeld where George announces that his worlds are colliding because his girlfriend, Susan, and regular friend, Elaine, are hanging out? Sometimes that’s how I feel. Only, my worlds collide on a daily basis.

I’m a teacher, if you didn’t know. At a high school. Which, obviously, comes with its own set of challenges and implications BEFORE you add the element of my alternate life as a young adult author.

It’s hard sometimes, trying to balance these two very different aspects of my working life. Sometimes, in the middle of teaching, I can’t stop thinking about this one plot point in my WIP. And then sometimes when I’m trying to write, all I can think about is the pile of ungraded tests on my desk at school.

Worlds are colliding, indeed.

There are, however, some pretty awesome perks to teaching high school – especially where my writing is concerned. First of all, I write for high schoolers, so I’ve got my audience right there, every day. I can observe their behavior whenever I want. Mentally record their reactions to things. I mean, sure, I only graduated from high school nine years ago, which isn’t that much time in the grand scope of things. But as we all know, there is a world of difference between 17 and 26.

I don’t remember anything about my thought processes as a teenager. I know I was highly irrational, but I can’t remember anything specific. So as I watch these 16-year-olds as they go about their day-to-day lives, I think, “Oh yeah! I bet I totally reacted the same way back then.” Or maybe, “Yeah, who went with who to the prom was totally the biggest deal ever.”

And speaking of prom, I’m about to go help some people set up for it. Which means I get to sit around all night and watch teenagers be teenagers.

I’d better go ahead and put a notebook and pen in my purse, eh?

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By the way: Murder Scene Blogfest goes live on Saturday!

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17 thoughts on “Ah, The Life Of A Teacher / Writer

  1. EJ Fechenda says:

    I think it’s awesome that you are able to immerse yourself in the world of your audience…you are very fortunate.

    “I know I was highly irrational, but I can’t remember anything specific.” >>> Me too! When I look back at how I reacted to things in high school, I was certifiable. I just laugh now at my 15 year old stepson and his friends because to them EVERYTHING is drama, drama, drama!

    Prom should provide some interesting fodder. Enjoy!

  2. Rhonda Cowsert says:

    I love writing YA but I remember just enough of what I was like as a teen to be terrified at the thought of having to spend all day, every day with them. You? Are my hero! Good luck with prom! 🙂

  3. Heather says:

    Definitely take along that notebook! When did prom go from being the biggest deal to a great opportunity for research?! I hope you’ll share your notes! LOL!

  4. Lorel says:

    That is a tremendous resource!
    As for the piles of tests, it could be worse. If you wrote about a high school teacher writing YA books, then your worlds would really collide.

  5. The Alliterative Allomorph says:

    Only nine years ago???? I got the impression from your writing style, technique, voice, that you were around the 35 mark. Wow. Nice work. I’m impressed. And here I was thinking you were older than me. My mind boggles …

  6. Anne Riley says:

    EJ: Oh, man, I was certifiable too! And unfortunately, some of that insanity carried over into college – yikes!

  7. Anne Riley says:

    Rhonda: Thanks! You wouldn’t believe (or maybe you would) how many people tell me they are terrified of my job. One time, a mortician told me that he could never teach high schoolers. I thought that was interesting.

  8. Anne Riley says:

    Heather: Prom went from the biggest deal ever to a research opportunity because this is my 8th one!!! GAH!!! Let’s just say the novelty has definitely worn off!

  9. Anne Riley says:

    Jemi: We did have a pretty good time, actually, and I did get some great material! One day they’re going to read my book and be like, Wait a second, is this about ME??

  10. Anne Riley says:

    Allomorph: Uh oh. Does my picture look like I’m 35, too? Haha! Nope – I’m 26. Almost 27, if that helps. 🙂

  11. Carolina Valdez Miller says:

    How you do it, I’ll never know. But I do envy the opportunity you have to be able to observe teenagers so closely. It is amazing how 9 years can seem so huge. Just the leap from 18 to 21 makes a world of difference.

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