Teaching Writing

I don’t like this cynical statement: “If you can’t do it, teach,” meaning if you can’t do something, teach it. If you can’t write well or successfully, teach writing. Of course I have a self-interest because I am a teacher.

I’d rephrase the statement: If you want to learn how to write, teach it. To teach writing, you have to study hard, especially if you’re teaching to your peers. And not only study, but practice what you are teaching.

A further point – be interesting. When you start to teach, say to yourself: It’s show time. I learned this the first day I taught in prison. I looked at the hardened dudes in front of me and knew I had to keep them interested or I’d be in trouble. In the next hour I became a teacher. No boring lectures. No reading from the text. Give examples, jump around, relate to the audience. Fight yawns. Stuff your feelings. What’s important is not how you feel, but respect for your students demands that you give them full value – a damn interesting class.

Find a class or maybe just a few students. Volunteer. Your peers, halfway houses, church groups.

If you want to learn how to write, teach writing. And teach it with passion.


4 responses to “Teaching Writing

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