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What I Ask

By Dave Stuart Jr.

A few days ago, I shared the gist of this blog: the work, the gap, the mission.

This time, let me be real about something.

The most common affirmation I get from readers like you is that you appreciate that I write from a real and living classroom. It's clear, you tell me, that I teach amongst actual ninth grade humans, and that I'm acquainted with the visceral pressures and balancing acts and stresses and triumphs of the teacher's life.

My response is always, “Thank you. I love teaching and wouldn't have it any other way.”

Sometimes, someone will get bold (which I appreciate), and they will ask, “Hey — what's the long-term plan? Are you only teaching until you can take the writing/edu-consulting thing full-time?”

And certainly, that is the route most-travelled by people who write for teachers. It's not a crazy question. It is a lot to write and to teach — just ask folks like Penny Kittle or Jim Burke or Kelly Gallagher who have done it for decades.

But despite the difficulties, I'm with the Burkes and Kittles and Gallaghers. The long-term plan is to remain a teacher-writer. I say, “Nope. I'm intent on teaching for the rest of my career. The state of Michigan says that is at least eighteen more years. So, expect to be hearing from me for a while.”

The trouble

The trouble with this, of course, is that it leaves me with precious little time to run a writer's life. Let's look at the numbers:

  • I work from 7 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. I don't work nights or weekends. So that's 50 hours per week.
  • I'm teaching 5 hours a day — so there's 25 of the 50 hours.
  • It takes an average of 2 additional hours per day to manage things like planning, feedback, tutoring, and meetings. Now we're up to 35 of the 50 hours per week.
  • And that leaves 15 hours for all things blog: writing, researching, corresponding, making book proposals, and so on.

This brings me to another question I often receive: “Dave, how do you do it all?”

The answer is that I don't. For example, I hire someone to proofread my blog posts before they go out. I've got another person who helps me manage the business side of the writing life (that's a thing), and one more person who helps with customer service.

But even with this help (all of whom are part-time), I still don't have the time to do the kinds of things that full-time edu-bloggers do to build the readership of their blogs. I'm not a marketing master.

Which brings me to you

Thankfully, the readership of this blog hasn't ever made it necessary for me to do those fancy things because you're generous and you share.

All that I ask, then, is that you keep doing that generous work. If something I write helps, share it liberally. Do it through email, or Twitter, or Facebook, or Pinterest (my wife told me to say that), or a copy room conversation, or a staff meeting, or a PD. I've got readers who regularly print out my blog posts and place them around their schools. That is all wonderfully helpful.

So on the one hand, I don't have a marketing team. But on the other hand, I've got quite a large one. 🙂

Let's keep making teaching better. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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