Here I blog about writing, editing, reading, books, submissions, freelancing, getting published (and rejected), journalism, revisions, life after the MFA, teaching writing, and living the writer's life. Welcome. BUT -- if you are a writer: Write first, read blogs second.




Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teaching (Writing) is to Learning as Learning is to Teaching -- or Something Like That

A few things about teaching writing that drive me a little bit crazy:

- Writing students who say they don't read much (huh?).
- Giving an open-ended writing assignment and having students ask for very specific guidelines.
- Giving a tightly-defined writing assignment and having students ask for fewer guidelines.
- Students who say they'd rather write than do anything else in the world – and then can't (won't?) complete a short writing assignment.

Some things I love:

- I read an excerpt from an author I'm very familiar with, and when students respond, I learn something new and unexpected.
- How quickly a supportive atmosphere develops around any table where writers gather to learn.
- When I think I've said everything I can on a topic, and then someone asks a great question and the discussion continues.
- Watching a student intently scribbling, just after class ends, eager to get their words down, which were somehow pried loose by something they read, heard or thought about during class.
- When I worry that I'm veering off topic a little, and then finding students fully engaged, and realizing it's a lot more on-point than what I had originally prepared.
- That aha look. Theirs, or mine.

1 comment:

Isaac Sweeney said...

I also teach writing and I have to say I love your list, especially the things that drive you crazy. I guess we can't please them all.