I love writing. I love talking about writing. I love telling people what I think about writing, and what I know and what I “feel” is true. It’s one reason I’ve done quite a few nonfiction pieces on writing, including my book, Write With Fire. Many of the writing related pieces I’ve produced began because I wanted to understand some concept myself, and I learn best by writing about it.
Because I know that writing about something is a superb way to learn about it, I always wanted to incorporate that element into my teaching. In the early 1990s at Xavier I saw a way to do that. Du Bois Williams (Irvin) and I got a small grant to create a writing guidebook for our psychology students. Writing in Psychology was the result, and it soon became a class. Because we had so few faculty, we weren’t able to offer the class very often but when we did I typically taught it. I’ve taught it most years since then, and as we’ve added faculty and rearranged our curriculum we’ve been able to offer it more frequently.
I wanted to teach writing. I think many people hope for a career where they can do and be involved with the things they love. It seemed, once we had the course developed and once the “Guidebook” was published officially as the textbook for the class, that I had arrived at that high point. Every other semester I was going to be able to teach a whole class focused on something near and dear to my heart. How could it get better?
Unfortunately, I was very naïve. Today, the writing class is the least favorite of all my classes. I won’t say I hate it; I will say I dislike it. I imagine that if I do it for another four or five years the dislike may well turn into hate. I know exactly why my feelings have changed. It isn’t just one reason, but a number of them. In part two of this post I'll go into the reasons.
NOTE: I give a test tomorrow so my blogging may be sporadic in the first part of the week. I also get my second set of papers in the writing class on Thursday, and give another test on Friday, so at the end of the week I'll probably have another forced hiatus from blogging. Just giving everyone a head's up