April 18, 2018
Although I code, write books, and produce audio and videos, I still mostly think of myself as a teacher and story teller.
I left academia twenty-some years ago.
My last attempt to stay in the business was when I heard a local university was looking to hire someone to teach Computer Science.
I'd been on the Math faculty there and knew quite a few people in the department.
I'd taught a couple of courses in programming there and had co-written a book and some papers with one of their CS faculty members.
And yet, when they had an opening, I wasn't seen to be qualified because my degree was in Math and not CS.
I have all sorts of opinions about that. I've never looked at a degree as the reason for hiring or not hiring someone - but opinions differ and I understand.
So I started consulting, contracting, training, and writing.
I love what I do.
This past couple of years since Kim died, people have been particularly nice about reaching out to me to let me know ways in which I touched them.
Selfishly, that's one of the things I miss most about academia.
In my sort of teaching, I see my students for a day or maybe a week. On campus I would see my students after they had left my class. I'd run into them on campus and hear how they were doing. They'd poke their heads into my office and ask if they could come in and talk or ask me for a recommendation.
I miss that.
I miss changing people's lives in ways they don't anticipate.
When I taught someone high school or college math - the math was the reason we were in class together - but often over the course of a semester there were other things we taught each other.
I always learn from my students. I hope they learn from me.
I have a friend who is retiring too soon from teaching. I'm sad when I watch the countdown to the number of days until he retires. He's that kind of teacher who changes lives and he's just not able to keep doing it.
A woman came to our CocoaHeads meetup last night. She teaches at the university that wouldn't hire me.
I thought, as I sometimes do, about the road not taken.
I admire what she does but I'm no longer envious.
I love what I do.
Consulting, contracting, training, and writing.
At one point, the only road I saw was the road of teaching.
I didn't understand, as I stood in Robert Frost's woods, that as I looked at the two roads - that one wasn't being closed to me.
It turned out that when the roads diverged in that yellow woods, I've gotten to travel them both.
And that has made all the difference.