This past Friday, for the first time in over four years, I stepped into a classroom as the instructor. I was teaching a class on eBook creation and I ran through many topics that briefly included writing the book and making sure it’s edited properly; starting a business and the importance of having a separate EIN for publishing if it’s not supplementing what you are currently doing; distribution through Kindle and Nook; social media marketing and formatting the document for eBook publication.
I was teaching adults as opposed to high school students—yet I felt a sense of elation and restoration as I talked about a topic I knew about and enjoyed teaching. From the moment the first student entered the class from the intimate time spent with a couple of students at lunch to the end of the classroom discussions—I realized that teaching will always be part of what God has called for my life.
Teaching comes in many formats—from the lecturer that stands in front of the classroom to the person who writes an instructional guide helping someone put something together. In my teen novels, I taught teens how to deal with social problems. My adult novels showed readers that regardless of their situation, faith in God will help them get through their trials.
When I was teaching in the public schools, I’d been led to believe that education was less about what the students learned and more about meeting quotas. Our students had to score at a certain level—so many of our students were supposed to move to the next level—the students were supposed to show evidence of growth. I understand all of that and that is fine—but our system believes in a rigid way that that growth is supposed to be evident. And often, that system is not evaluated fairly or by people who understand the subjects they are observing. There is no way growth in English can be measured the same way one would measure growth in auto mechanics or computer applications.
I could sit here and talk about how unfairly I was treated as a teacher. I could talk about how I was lied to about my situation and betrayed by someone whom I was led to be was my mentor, role model and friend. I’ve admitted how stupid I felt that I didn’t look into my particular situation further and that I had no excuse to get the truth between my college professor, my classmates, mentee teachers, several church members who currently teach in the public school system—not to mention the thousands of fraternity brothers I have—of which several teachers are not only in my chapter but in other chapters in which I had a relationship with. I touched on that briefly in Broken But I’m Healed—and trust me, I didn’t go as deep as I could’ve because the book has greater meaning and purpose than that. But I will say that after writing and publishing Broken But I’m Healed, my faith has been renewed in teaching and education, and I have the community college I taught at to thank for that. I was reminded that I don’t need a public school system to validate me as a teacher—that rather, as an entrepreneur I can create my own opportunities to turn anything I’m doing into a teachable moment.
I’ve always taken full responsibility for my failures for why I didn’t work out as a public school teacher and how I flunked out of graduate school the first time. I will never forget the man I met afterward that encouraged me to look at and assess myself. That same man encouraged me to enter another graduate program based on a subject I love and two years after flunking out of my alma mater, I got my Master’s of Entrepreneurship at Western Carolina University. I was introduced to a variety of professors who made one of my favorite subjects to study and participate in come alive through education. To take it a step further, these instructors helped me when it came to running my second publishing company and those tools and strategies they gave me still help when it comes to consulting other authors and publishers.
Needless to say, after BROKEN BUT I’M HEALED, I can’t wait to teach again. I doubt I will be back in that part of North Carolina again—but I’m looking forward to teaching in other parts of the state and even welcome the idea of teaching in other states. I’m looking forward to a new literary future. And I can’t wait to write Calvin Rice’s romance novel that is anticipated to be released in 2014.