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A Strange Resentment

Few writing teachers/instructors/professors/facilitators—whatever the institutions we work for decide to call us—will admit to a strange resentment that descends as the term moves into its final weeks. By then—by now—our students are all doing well, they are productive, they are writing, and we are not necessarily keeping pace with them much less our own projects. What’s most challenging about adjunct work, in fact, is not the students—who I have already confessed here I come to adore—but the fact that we are so devoted that our own work suffers. There is a lot to read, there is a lot to prepare before each class. I also have tutorial students and private clients.

Much as I try to balance my days and weeks between the demands of writing and teaching, I often find it difficult. The frustrations set in, the strange resentment. My students are writing so much and I am not. So I begin to lurch with great anticipation to the end of term when I’ll be able to write full time again for a while. And not wanting to give my students any kind of short shrift, I don’t feel particularly comfortable with this resentment, though I know it’s very common among working writers who teach. I’ll probably talk to my students about it on Wednesday. If I am not doing my best, they’ll let me know.

We’ve been having an ongoing discussion about the writing life and how to find a way of earning a living while writing. If we have a demanding job that depletes our energy, it’s difficult to carve out time to write. And though teaching may be demanding it does not deplete my intellectual or emotional energy. In fact, writing and teaching are a good fit. During the teaching term, if I am not already working on a longer project, I keep my notebooks going and write in them every day, just short notations, observations, and ideas. And I find my students inspiring, too. The class is dynamic and keeps my mind clicking.

So, dear students, forgive me if I am a bit distracted now and again. It means I’ve done all the preparation for our workshop by Monday afternoon and have been able to immerse in my own writing for a day or so.
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