You Learn Best When You Teach It…

Late last summer, I started teaching writing at work. Since I write a lot on my own, it was assumed I’d do great at teaching writing

I was pretty nervous. I still am when confronted by a writing student, although I know a lot of that now has to do more with a teacher in the center who has decided we must all do everything her way, despite the fact she has been told she’s not always right.

I sat there teaching grammar and parts of speech. I explained the point of the thesis sentence. I just felt paralyzed when it came to revising and editing because a fellow teacher had told me that it was a no-no to offer any sort of help at these stages. It turns out that was wrong, but I was still terrified to help.

Not long after I became a writing teacher, I started grading papers for a local high school. I was asked to make specific comments and to help with grammar. The second I could do easily enough from my time as an editor. The first…yeah, that paralyzing fear from the first job held me back. I think it actually cost me the job.

A few months ago, I started editing for people on a freelance basis. Without even thinking about it, I’ve attacked these stories with the same energy I attacked my editing job. No idea why. Before long, I realized I was starting to treat the center papers the same way- making comments on the sides, circling grammar and spelling errors for the student to correct.

It’s been odd to watch myself shift. It’s been a great benefit to everyone I work with.


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