Why “Fake”?

Why “fake” English teacher? Well, like all individuals who have a secret identity, there is an origin story and this is mine.

I earned my BA in secondary education, majoring in Speech & Theatre and minoring in English. The reason I got the English minor was convenience: most of my theatre classes doubled as both theatre and English credits. My thinking was that the theatre degree would be what I loved to do, but the English degree would be a great fall-back choice because there are always far more English teachers in a school than theatre teachers. In a Vulcan kind of way this made sense, but I was not prepared (even more so than most first year teachers) for teaching English in high school.

The English teachers I met when I began teaching were intellectuals who were well-versed in so many different genres of literature, wrote in journals (this was prior to the Blogosphere) in their spare time, hoping to write a novel someday, and inspired their students through thoughtful discussion within their classrooms. I, on the other hand, floundered and faked my way through lessons daily, staying up into all hours of the night reading the books I was assigned to read in high school and college, but did not get around to completely because I had been busy with things far more interesting (girls, sports, friends, heck, even yard work). On the outside I was composed and under control (the theatre degree in action) but inside I was a mess of stress, anxiety, and insecurity. I deemed myself a “fake English teacher.”

That was 14 years ago, and I have made serious strides as both a teacher AND and English teacher, but I always keep the memories of those feelings in my heart, and they help to keep me learning and growing.