My sister walks into the room where I’ve been prepping class for hours. The sheer amount of paper involved in this teaching business is incredible: I sit amid handouts, student papers to be graded, papers graded already, printouts from the internet, ideas for exercises, our textbook, my own notes. A one-and-a-half-hour-long class requires three or four exercises at least; it’s like a symphony with several movements. These activities need to provide variety but should also engage each other in some logical way: allegro, adagio, what-have-you. It’s hard not to feel like twice a week, I’m writing and performing a new one-woman show.

“You know,” she says, “I never believed it when my teachers used to tell me that it took a lot of work for them to get class ready. I always thought they were just whining.”

Yeah, I kind of thought that too. It turns out they were hustling for us, and that every now and then they wanted us to know it.

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