I just finished re-writing the first half of Keeper of the Creatures, a book that I’ve been writing for my kids. I’m enjoying the process as much as the final product. True, I have deadlines that I set up for myself. However, these deadlines are flexible. Yes, I’m held “accountable” to someone, but it’s an audience of three (though a demanding one at that).
Someone asked me the other day if writing was a hobby for me. The word jarred me for a moment. I wanted writing to be more than that. Somehow the term “hobby” conjured up something juvenile. Was that it? Was I simply a guy who liked writing the way other people like Fantasy Football?
But then I thought about the hobby label. It works. This has been my favorite thing I’ve ever written and that is due, in large part, to the fact that there is no pressure. I don’t have to worry if it’s too whimsical or if it’s too deep or if my faith somehow colors a part of a chapter. I’m not writing like my life depends on it.
The end result is something that is different than what I would have written if I had been a professional. It is far more quirky, creative, deep and fun than if I had been thinking about data and audiences and numbers. As long as writing is a hobby, I can relax a little.
So, it has me think about the classroom. I am quick to point out that we are professionals. And yet . . . I wonder how I would teach if it were more like a hobby. Maybe it would be horrible. Maybe I wouldn’t take things seriously enough. Maybe I’d walk away in moments when my professional duty keeps me there.
Maybe approaching teaching in a way that is more like a hobby would allow me to relax. I know that I teach best in subjects that are untested, free of the pressures of high test scores. I know that I have developed the most positive classroom communities when I taught computers. I could be wrong on this. It’s why I am reluctant to press the publish button. But, like writing fiction, blogging is a hobby and being a hobby, I’ll take my chances.