teaching writing classes

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2008
teaching writing classes
Mon, 09-22-2008 - 12:26pm

I am an English Education major, and I am taking my first "creative writing" class...and

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2005
Mon, 09-22-2008 - 12:46pm

I DO teach writing -- all over the country, as well as publish regularly under a half a dozen names.

One of the most important things I look for in a teacher is to make sure the person is a working writer, not a theorist. I want to learn from published authors. If you talk the talk, you better be ready to walk the walk. I also want a class that's active, not passive. I want assignments, I want CONstructive criticism (not DEstructive criticism), I want techniques, I want the teacher to help me shape the work into the best it can be in MY voice, not encourage other students to rewrite it in THEIR voices.

As a teacher, I aim to provide a similar experience that I search for as a student.

As a teacher, I make sure my classes/workshops are focused. I am very strict -- no cellphones, texting, PDAs, music, chewing gum allowed during class. The time spent in the class is to be focused on classwork. I don't care what you've got going on in the rest of your life -- if you can't spend the hour or so out of it, don't take my class.

I listen to my students. I encourage them to develop their individual styles, rather than trying to make them all sound the same (I once took a class where the teacher insisted if we didn't write like John Gardner we "didn't know what writing was"). Now, I admire John Gardner -- I don't want to write like him.

We do assignments both inside class and outside of it. I encourage interaction. I encourage them to form writing groups away from class, if the chemistry is good. I remind them to re-read STRUNK AND WHITE before every major revision. I use anecdotes and examples to illustrate specific points, but they are no more than a paragraph or two in tandem to what we discuss, not instead of it.

My classes are VERY active and participatory, and I make it clear up front what's expected.

For an idea, you can look at one of my websites, which has blurbs about different classes:

Hope that helps.

If the class you're taking doesn't meet your needs, drop it and look for a teacher more suited to what you seek.

Ink in My Coffee: http://devonellington.wordpress.com Hex Breaker: http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com www.fearlessink.com www.devonellingtonwork.com
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2004
Mon, 09-22-2008 - 6:58pm

<<"How has a writing class, writing mentor, or any other teachings on writing been effective for you? Was there an activity/topic/comment/etc. that was helpful to you? If you could teach a creative writing class, what are some of the things you would do"?<<

Believe it or not, I've never really had a formal writing class, except for a 10th grade class on creative writing (where I caught a plagiarist) and a writer's roundtable (critique class) in college.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 09-22-2008 - 8:37pm

Wow! Manyquills and Linda have just about said it all.

Creative writing isn't the only subject that can be ruined by the wrong teacher.