So, I had a crazy thing happen this past week… it was rather unexpected, but at the same time, something I’d been hoping for…
This fall (and last winter), I’ve been TA-ing for two professors at the college where my father works (he’s the Dean of something-something, I honestly don’t know anymore because the title keeps changing as he makes administrative changes to the school). I do TA work because it’s a little extra cash on the side, and though it always takes longer than it should to do marking, I figure it’s good experience.
I’ve always harbored a secret hope that one day, possibly, doing a good job as a TA would turn into something else… I’ve taken classes at the college & seminary level there, so I know how things work, and I’m familiar with the faculty and staff because my father works there and I’ve been in and around the school for the past ten years for various reasons…
This week, I went in for a quick meeting with a prof that I’m doing TA work for next semester, and as I walked up to the school, I thought to myself: “Why am I doing this? It’s too much work, it takes too long… but maybe someday someone will let me teach something, so here I go again…”
Ahem. Well. Turns out that the woman who was supposed to teach the English Composition class next semester – who is very pregnant – will need to have a C-section, which is going to put her out of commission for the first six weeks of the winter semester (at minimum). And the first guy they asked to fill in for her wasn’t able to commit. And – here’s where it gets really weird – the class is to be held on Monday nights, the only night of my schedule I hadn’t filled up yet.
Soooo… as of yesterday, I’m officially an English Professor! For one semester, anyway. But whaddaya know, my random TA-ing has paid off!!!
Yes, it’s a mandatory class of first-year students who failed their English competency exam (there’s one for grammar and one for essay-writing, and they’re required to take it and pass in the first year) and who absolutely do not want to be there, let alone on a Monday night…
So, it’s going to be a tough class. And I don’t know yet if I’m teaching the full course or half, but either way, talk about an unexpected blessing and work paying off…!
And there’s a moral of the story here: Take the opportunities that come your way, and do your best… because you never know when that opportunity could turn into something else. I know, it seems like common sense, but that little critique you’re working on? Or that workshop piece you edited? Or that information you passed on to a journalist friend? That could be where an unexpected, great opportunity comes from in the future.
Treat every job, every task, no matter how big or small, with the attitude that doing your best is the only way to complete it. And as you do this, be willing to build relationships with the people around you, who will see that you’re working hard and that you care about what you’re doing, and then will be more likely to give you more responsibilities in the future.
As writers, we often think that it’s only what’s on the page in front of us that counts or makes the difference. In reality, it’s our work and our relationships with others that make the difference, and doing our best in both, even when the task seems tedious or difficult.
Now, share with me! I want to know: What wonderful and/or unexpected opportunities have come your way in the past, due to your good work or good relationships with others?