[NCTE-TALK:2300] Re: A writing teacher who DOES write...

Doug R Capra (IFDRC@acad2.alaska.edu)
Sat, 13 Jan 1996 18:30:11 -0600

I've held off replying to this writing strand. I think there are
people to whom writing is important and those to whom it is not. Now,
I can understand a general English teacher who isn't a writer. Many
are not. they are generalists. Perhaps they should write more. I
think they should. But, apparently, writing isn't a force in their
life. Perhaps if they took a class where they really had time to
write they would see the value writing has for them and the credibility
it gives them as a teacher. Then there are teachers like me, a writing
specialist. What credibility would I have if I didn't write and publish?
None. I teach what I do well, and I write because I have an inner need
to write. We can't impose that inner need on all teacahers, but we
can suggest they expore writing more to see if writing satisifies an
inner need they haven't noted before. As far as finding time to write:
people with that inner need find, indeed, steal time to write. They
have to. If I don't work on my writing every day, I feel like someone
who needs to workout every day and misses exercising. If I miss too
any days of writing I actually feel sick, physically, emotionally,
spiritually. How can we impose this temperent on others who don't
have it? I most often don't write in class withmy students, but ,
as another instructor has noted on this list, I let students track
my progress on writing assignments and show them how one works with
editors and publishers. Actually, I don't find a classrroom as
productive place to "write." It's a good place to explore, brainstorm,
prewrite, edit, peer edit, respond to other writers, etc. But most
students I think like to "write" in a more private setting. So do
I. I don't disaagree with teachers who write with their student in class.
If it works for them, fine. It doesn't work for me. By the way, I teach
both high school and college writing. And I use the same basic techniques
to teach writing, revision, editing, etc. to both children and adults.
Doug Capra