Saturday, August 2, 2014

Career choices and cold hard cash

[This is a scheduled post, since I'm traveling. I'll give an end-of-July update on August 5 or so, when I'm back.]

I've written before about the way in which being single affects my emotional life; I'm more invested in my godchildren than I suspect most people who have their own biological children are, for example. I also take some of that nurturing instinct out on my students. I don't always "click" with my classes -- I've had some real drags -- but I had one last year that was really special. I got an email from one of the students in that class earlier today that made my week; she told me that something from our class had come up in her everyday life and she'd loved thinking about it and had to tell me.

I wish I could get into detail, but it's not really a good idea to talk on the open internet about specific students, even when you're vaguely semi anonymous like me :)

Anyway, I was just thrilled to get this email. I worry about money constantly because my career choice was so fiscally unwise, and I'm afraid that given my one-low-income status I've wrecked my chances at a comfortable retirement. But the occasional thing like this reminds me that there are in fact other things in life; I don't have kids, but there are hundreds of my former students in the world who've engaged with ideas and people they wouldn't have if they hadn't taken my classes. If I stay in teaching, that number will get into the thousands pretty fast. It's not the worst legacy in the world, even if I don't have a dime to leave behind.

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