April 22nd, 2017

Vonnegut, I fear, as a teacher at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is working with adults who have a reasonably solid conception of their career path. They were, after all, paying no small sum of cash for the privilege of working under his tutelage.

As a teacher, I was usually pretty good at helping people become what they wanted to become. I didn’t try to make them resemble me.
—to Mark Vonnegut on 20 March 1972, p. 180 Kurt Vonnegut: Letters.

One of the frustrating aspects, for me, of working with adolescents on the cusp of adulthood is ferreting out exactly what they wish to do after graduation. I confess that I did not become, ultimately, what I thought I would after I left Warren High School in 1973, but what I am today is a natural outgrowth of those embryonic imaginings. What I find most often among my students is a wish to become magically famous (and rich, why that is second is another story). They seldom have any idea of how they may progress from poor student to famous person other than, well, someone recognizes their genius and makes them famous.

Good luck with that.

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