Teaching Writing: After a Job Interview

I recently(ish) interviewed for a teaching position, part of which would be to teach writing.

One of the questions I got asked was, Why teach this age group?

In the moment, my general teaching philosophy came out and I made some kind of an answer through the form of the W.B. Yeats quote:


Education is not the filling of pale / but the lighting of a fire.


I figured that teaching isn’t about what you teach to whom, it’s about how you teach and that whoever they are, they learn to learn. Kind of nailed it, I think. But what I thought of later, I think, is more appropriate for this blog at the moment (perhaps a teaching philosophy will come up again later).

I realized that as a poet I am also a teacher.

My need to speak, to write, to communicate, comes from an inherent desire to reach people. I mean, I don’t know that I always engage with the primal energy of the universe and call up hidden multitudes within those who hear me whenever I speak, but you get the idea.

There is a message for me to deliver. I am not in charge of it.

There’s no telling why I have gone where I have gone, and there isn’t a way to predict where I will be going. Poets don’t work that way, right?

Why this age group? Because I have arrived here with an excited spirit and found some acceptance among the students (having been a substitute and such). So, why not teach here?

If I am certain of anything in life, I can only be certain of the substantial object of the world. The really important stuff to me, though, and what is important to poets at large, is something less tangible than sensual living, less known than things thought to be known.

Whitman looked for it, that eternally mysterious ‘it,’ in and through the sensual, but I think I am too depressive for that kind of thinking. To me, it’s always ending—entropy there in the four fundamental forces, ever present, acting upon the universe.

Continuous change. Constant shifting of elements. A drag down to the seed bed of nu futures.

I don’t know why I’m here to teach writing to whomever I am to teach writing.

I just know that I’m supposed to.

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