Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Teaching, Learning, and Paying It Forward
Here's a little-known fact about me: for a while, I was actually a certified Secondary English Education teacher. (That's right, take a moment to envision me with my hair in a bun with a pencil stuck through it. Got it? Okay.)
My original college education was in Psychology and Theater (a good background for writing rituals, when you think about it), but a number of years later, I went back and got my certification to teach middle and high school English. I did my student teaching with the seventh grade, and no one was more surprised that me to discover that I absolutely loved teaching. A number of different things conspired to send me down a completely different path, but here we are, LOTS of years later, and somehow, I've come back around to teaching again. And yes, I'm still loving it.
I started out teaching a couple of popular online writing classes, including Beyond Fangs: Creating New & Interesting Paranormal Characters, which I'll be giving for the last time (for a while, anyway) over at the Savvy Authors site April 9-26. Then, this year, I gave in to the folks who'd been nagging me (you know who you are!) and started my own Workshop Loop, where with the help of fellow author and pagan Heather Long, I give classes on Witchcraft, and the occasional writing seminar.
I'm having a great time giving the classes, and it earns me a bit of money on the side, which is always useful (especially when you need new brakes for the car and a new washer in the same month), but that's not why I do it. In fact, the teaching really cuts into my personal writing time, and takes a lot of energy.
So why do I do it? Two people, really. My grandmother (Germambie, someone I've talked about here before) was a life-long learner. She was auditing classes into her 80's, just because she loved to learn.
And Candace Havens . Candace is an author who goes out of her way to teach others, both by giving workshops, and by hosting others on her Write_Workshop loop. When I was just starting out writing fiction, she took the time and energy to mentor me--giving me a much needed (and much appreciated) boost when I had SO much to learn.
She also strongly advocates paying it forward: if someone does something good for you at the beginning of your career, she thinks it is important to pay that forward to others when you are further along the road.
So I teach because I enjoy it, but also because I think it is important to keep learning (and I learn something from my students in every single class I teach). And because it is my turn to pay it forward.
See you in class!