Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Five Naked Women and the Teacher



It was 2:00 a.m. I sat in my office, reading a book, when one of my son's friends walked in to talk. You see, my house was always 'that house' where all the kids knew they were welcome. I was 'that mom', that was usually available to talk about anything. On this particular night, Steven wanted to know about one of the prints on my wall.
The specific print is  Picasso's Les Demoiselles D'Avignon, and to a fifteen year old teenage boy, it was just a painting of naked women. I explained to him the historical content of the painting and some of the political, social and cultural interpretations. I pulled out a copy of Conrad's Heart of Darkness and convinced him to read it. A few days later, he said to me, "Why don't we learn this stuff in high school?"

Good question.

I've always wanted to teach. Even though I've been a nurse for almost thirty years, I've always taken a certain pleasure in not necessarily sharing my knowledge, but getting someone interested in something that they normally would have ignored. A fifteen year old reading Conrad and looking at a Picasso as a political statement is a fine example.

Steven then pushed the right button. "Why aren't you teaching?"

Another good question.

The next semester of school, I found myself in an alternative teaching program for people with a Bachelors degree to become licensed as high school teachers. In six months, I had a certificate to teach history in the state of Texas (long story) and started looking for a job. In the meantime, I enrolled in a Master of Arts program, focusing on literature this time, thinking that the Masters would only increase my chances of getting hired.

One Masters degree later, I still hadn't secured a teaching job. So I went back to school, again. This time for a terminal degree, a Master of Fine Arts. I completed that degree a year ago, and sent out over one hundred resumes/applications to teach.

Nothing.

A month ago, I got a call from a college in Las Vegas. I interviewed and was hired to teach World Literature for the Spring semester. Then I was given a second class, English Composition. I immediately started reading the class material and working on my syllabi.

Today is my first day of class and I'm sure I'm more excited than my students will be. Seven years in the making, today I become a teacher. Never give up, fight the good fight, pick your cliche.

This morning, I walked in to my office and the first thing that caught my eye was the Picasso print: a reminder that I can do this. I don't expect that everyone will have the enthusiasm for the subjects that I do, however, if I can just make them see things in a different way...

And I have no doubt I can do just that.

22 comments:

Suzanne Shumaker said...

Yes! You are going to rock this new gig, Kelly. I'm so happy for you.

David S. Rawding said...

Nice work, Professor Vegas.

Charlieopera said...

Teachers ALWAYS make a difference. You'll be a great one.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Thanks, Suzi. I'm pretty pumped.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Following in your footsteps, Professor Dave.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Thanks, Charlie. If all else fails, I'll put on some opera and we'll just chill.

wendielew said...

Can't wait to hear how day one went!

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

It was great, Wen. :)

rebelsowell said...

I always knew you'd be a great teacher. You have style, grace, and a contagious laugh. You've taught me a lot. Congratulations!

Ciara Ballintyne said...

Congrats, Kelly, it's been a long, hard road for you. I hope it's smooth sailing from here.

thewritepursuit said...

Came across this post via a tweet (can't remember thru who at the moment) and just wanted to offer a stranger's congrats and well wishes and say thanks for sharing the inspiration. My 'year off' from high school turned into 10 before I got back to school and then I have enough credits for an associate's except that I never focused and took the "right" credits for any degree. FINALLY focusing and going for a bachelor's starting in May. And have plans to go further after.

Logically you know that it's never too late to pursue a passion if you're willing to work for it, but it's always nice to hear success stories to reinforce that. Best of luck to you :)

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Thank you, Rebel.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

What is this thing you call smooth sailing? LOL. Maybe with a yacht, and a tall, buff captain behind the wheel. In a kilt. :)

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

As much as I say that I wished I had 'stayed the course' when I was younger, I think that some of us need a little extra time in the school of life before we can finally focus on a degree plan. And that's okay. I'm sure you learned a lot in the ten years off from high school, even if you didn't get a piece of paper for it.
Good luck! And thank you for the congrats. :)

derekflynn said...

Congrats K, I'm delighted for you. And I'm sure your enthusiasm will be infectious. You're the kind of teacher every school/college need!

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Thank you, Derek. It's strange to be starting something completely new at my age (29), but it's exciting.

Beth G. said...

I have no doubt you can do it, too. I'm so proud of you. Rock that shit.

D.C. said...

Hey Lady, I've nominated you for a couple of awards! http://dcmcmillen.com/2013/01/23/you-like-me-you-really-like-me-or-something-like-that/

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

I am so slow. Thanks, DC, just saw this.

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