Teaching, Learning and Loving it

I'm lucky enough to have lots of teaching of this wonderful art of writing coming up in the summer, and I've spent a fair few weeks now trying to make the sessions as good as possible.

Which has lead me to a key question - what is the basis of teaching?

I've come to conclude it's much the same as in my day job, journalism - to anticipate the questions that people want answered, and, importantly...

... to try to do so in an entertaining way.

We've all sat in far too many classrooms and been bored numb by teaching which might have been informative, but was so dull it never had a chance of making it into our minds.

So I try to make mine entertaining, with games and interactions, and the odd surprise here and there. Secrets and post it notes will feature this year, and edgily too in some cases.

The texture is important too. I don't want to talk too much without a change of pace, to a discussion or exercise. 

And there's another point there - one of the greatest mistakes I've seen made is for people to confuse teaching with talking about themselves. I can almost sense you nodding at that - enough said!

Quick visual interlude - one of my favourite pictures of me teaching (I almost look like I know what I'm talking about... I hope), at the brilliant Maynard School in Exeter.

Simon maynard.JPG

I love teaching writing for all that I learn myself (there's always something and usually lots) the places I go and the people I get to meet, but probably most of all because of the sharing of the heart.

Writing is such a passion and a joy for us all, to have a few hours to talk about it, how it's done, to think about it and study it, is a great delight and an even bigger privilege.

And given that, if I can't make the sessions at least passably interesting and entertaining, I might as well give up now.

My first teaching is at the Winchester Writers' Festival next weekend - if you're coming to those sessions, or any of the others over summer (in Fishguard, Exeter, Swanwick, Torquay or Appledore), I very much look forward to meeting you and sharing the love of our mutual passion.