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"The profession to which I devoted the central chunk of my life was one of the least solitary.  I was a teacher. 

It was a calling that yielded me much happiness and gaiety.  

Apart from the gruesome chore of teaching the grammar of a foreign language to lads who lived in terms of an uneasy truce with the grammar of their own country, I would have thought myself among the blessed of the earth.

It was something I had always wanted to do.  I liked the exercise of despotic authority. 
I liked audiences that felt morally compelled to smile at my little jests, and could
not possibly run away without risking a serious argument with the local authority. 
I loved the gossip and the grumbling of the staff room.  I loved the endless supply
of white, free chalk and the splendid sensation of becoming invisible beneath a falling
pall of chalk dust.

I taught for twenty-two years.  In my middle forties I left teaching to live by my imagination, a very tricky craft indeed.  I was eight years short of qualifying for the pittance I would have earned in the form of a premature pension.  But I had to have silence, a chance to withdraw a little, to find out exactly who and where I was, to stop the erosion of being constantly exposed to the eyes of the young.

Teaching gave me much joy and sustenance.  There is a tonic wind of significance blowing through any place where gifted lads tread the higher hills of promise.  Schools gave me a perfect background against which to write.  The brazen enigmas of the classroom helped to counter the chronic sense of unreality that has fogged me since birth, the conviction that I have come to the wrong world, tumbled down the wrong chimney, bringing with me a sooty cloud of alienation."

('A Few Selected Exits: An Autobiography of Sorts' - Gwyn Thomas)

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Last Updated April 2013
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