Now that I’ve finally finished pouring out my soul into a Shakespeare paper and accomplished pretty much nothing all day, I’m finally going to sit down and write my blog. *cracks knuckles* Okay.
At the beginning, many of these blogs were about teaching fears: what’s going to happen, and how am I going to react, when I am in the classroom and [this] happens? I personally didn’t write one, but I read them and agreed with them because I think we’re all afraid of the same things. I think Natalie’s blog and Alex’s vlog were some of the first posts to address these and they hit upon the majority of fears, and I remember reading and watching these and thinking, “Wow, other people are afraid of this stuff too?” Well, before we are sorted into new groups and have to start focusing and synthesizing new topics, I’ve recently been inspired to write mine.
For E 405 (Adolescent Lit), I’ve started reading The Hobbit so that when the first movie comes out in December, I’ll actually know what’s happening, as opposed to when I saw The Return of the King and had to keep asking my brother what was going on. And I’ve realized that Bilbo and I have a lot in common.
The Hobbit is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it’s about how a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is recruited by the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves as a burglar in order to help the dwarves reclaim their homeland from the dragon, Smaug.
Much of the beginning of the story is devoted to explaining personal histories, and the very very beginning is Bilbo’s family history and personality. And it comes down to this: Bilbo is an unlikely hero. He is the most unlikely person ever to be asked to become a burglar and go on an adventure with a bunch of dwarves and an enigmatic wizard. He is literally thrown into this adventure against his will, and he doesn’t really want it, and he has no idea what to make of it, so he sort of bumbles along, wishing he was back in his hobbit-hole and hoping he doesn’t die in any number of horrible ways.
Right now, I feel a lot like Bilbo when it comes to teaching. I’ve been second-guessing my career choice all semester, wondering if I’m really cut out to be a teacher and if I’ll be a good teacher or just another statistic. Most of you are juniors but I’m only a sophomore and, although I have enough credits to be in these classes, I don’t feel mentally prepared to be in them. I was all fired up to start working on lesson plans and unit plans, thinking “This will be a cakewalk,” only to discover after one I hate them and never want to create another one. Also, what is a cakewalk exactly? I don’t even know…
I’m about a quarter of the way through the book, but Bilbo is still scared out of his mind most of the time. He doesn’t know how to deal with the dwarves, who don’t respect him, or Gandalf, who confuses him, or goblins, who also don’t respect him and actually would like to eat him, or Gollum, who… he doesn’t even know what Gollum is, but he wants to eat him too. And that’s how I feel! Well, not the being eaten part. But I don’t what I’ll do with middle school students, high school students, other teachers, principals, parents, the whole shebang, because I know they’ll perplex me. Classes and lectures can’t prepare you for when your students start dropping f-bombs or parents yell at you because their kid’s failing.
When I first started reading it, I looked it up on Sparknotes and read Bilbo’s character analysis. And they wrote that the thing about Bilbo is… he doesn’t change. While other characters are being corrupted by power or greed or revenge or whatever (cough Gollum cough), Bilbo stays the same. He’s the only character who remains true to himself. He may be swept up in the tidal wave of adventure, but he doesn’t let it chip away at him. I would bet that, on the last page, he’ll still be thinking about his next meal and warm night in his hobbit-hole. Because of course he must survive. He’s the hero! And there’s a whole trilogy that comes after (and he’s in it)!
So maybe there is hope for me. Bilbo survives his brief, harrowing career as a “burglar.” Maybe I can survive my own harrowing career as a teacher too. At least there’s no chance I’ll be eaten by orcs, dragons, or deranged hobbitses…
(Also, I accidentally typed the title as “An Unexpected Gollum.” My brother thought that was hilarious.)