When I was 15 – unreasonably angry and burning with a blistering passion for greatness that would extinguish itself by the time I was 18 – I made a list of possible careers. In my diary (hunched over my desk, pausing at intervals to enjoy a handful of crackers) I wrote:

  • Broadway actress
  • Novelist
  • Lawyer
  • Advertising Executive
  • Businesswoman

You will notice that “teacher” figures nowhere on that insidiously ridiculous list. If anything, I considered the teaching profession a sort of death for me; at 15 (and, again, burning with desires to achieve glory) I saw teaching – especially the teaching of English – as the fall back position for one who could not succeed. By the time I was 18 I knew I simply didn’t have the talent, brains or ambition to become an actress, lawyer, executive or businesswoman but I still held out the thought that perhaps I could turn my fondness for words into a career. At 27 and as much of a failed journalist/creative writer as anyone can be, I stand in front of a classroom and help Japanese people improve their conversational skills, all the while thinking of my youthful arrogance.

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