Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Are You a Teacher?

When I received my Liberal Arts Degree in English Literature many years ago, someone told me that if I wished I could use that degree and be a teacher. Perish the thought!

Teachers needed patience. Teachers needed to be precise. Teachers needed to be so many things I was not.

Or, so I thought. And, maybe that was true at the time.

Since then, I've discovered that somewhere along the line I actually did become a teacher, without even trying.

No, I don't stand in front of a physical classroom of children or adults. Instead, I teach in the virtual world. I don't hire out for online classes, but I teach nonetheless. Not only that, on any given day, my classroom can be huge.

My audience covers this area & more!
I've been writing and networking for some time now, and happened to have picked up some pointers along the way, as well as an audience. It seems almost every time I blog, I find myself sharing a tidbit I've learned, in the hopes someone might find it useful. This tidbit sharing not only happens in my blogs, but also when I network on social media sites, and in my e-groups.

I'm not the only teacher out there. Other writers are doing the same thing. In fact, many started before I did, and that's how I garnered so many tidbits to pass along.

What about you? Are you a virtual teacher? Or, maybe you know someone who is?



Experience the diversity & versatility of Morgan Mandel. For romantic comedy: Her Handyman & Girl of My Dreams. Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.  Romantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two Wrongs. Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com Chick Lit Faves 

17 comments :

  1. I guess I am also. But I did teach at a college part-time for 3 years. Now I teach my kids and mentor other authors.

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  2. The teacher gene expressed itself early in my life—one of my favorite pastimes was to play school teacher, passing out books and tests to my disgruntled sisters, who I would ask to erase notes I made on the chalkboard in our basement!

    Most writers feel they should be giving classes and speaking at conference and feel frustrated for not pursuing it, but just like writing and editing, one skill does not guarantee another.

    There are teaching writers and teaching editors and non-teaching writers and non-teaching editors and writers who could not talk someone down from a ledge because they couldn't break the action down into its component steps to teach it.

    And that's okay! I have come to believe that everyone who wants to teach or write or edit better can learn new techniques to do so, but that first inkling—that first spark of talent and passion required for success—is something you can't apply from the outside in.

    To express yourself through language and story, to critically evaluate a finished product, or to break a skill down into its fundamental steps—are inherent capabilities. The trick is to know what it is you can do, and do it well.

    Guess this post really got me thinking, Morgan. Thanks!

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  3. Morgan--I have "Teacher" tattooed across my forehead. Once long ago, I was in line with a few teacher friends to get into Dirty Sally's--or something like that-- in New Orleans. We were laughing and talking and a man in front turned around and looked at us, and said, "You all are teachers, right?" Good grief. We even LOOK like teachers, whatever that means.
    I "retired" at age 50 but in one way or another, I am still teaching. Bible lessons, how to do something--one on-line friend emails all the time to ask how to do some thing--she begins it with, "Ask Celia."
    Born a teacher, not born a writer.

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  4. I admire people who are born teachers. Like you, Morgan, I was not meant to be in front of a classroom. I remember being asked, er, forced, to lead a class for my son's gifted and talented program at school - this was before formal classes were instituted and all the moms were taking turns. There I was with fifteen of the brightest kids and I had no clue how to keep them engaged. I did that once. After that, I supported the program in any way I could, other than being the teacher.

    I do, however, enjoy my role as a virtual teacher sharing what I have learned in the years I have been writing. All of us who contribute here, as well as other blogs, are teachers.

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  5. I have learned a lot from other writers and conference presenters. I don't think of myself as a teacher, but I do try to share my ideas and accumulated wisdom. Everyone has something they can teach someone, even if it is "don't follow this example." :)

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  6. As Diana mentioned, everyone has someone we can teach each other. If something strikes us as worthy of sharing, it's a great idea to share the wealth!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

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  7. Believe it or not (and it is hard for most people to believe), I started out my professional career as a secondary school teacher ... fortunately, for many developing minds, that lasted about as long as a coffee break ... but, none-the-less, I still do have a lesson for you ... if you like to eat, don't become an author.

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  8. From my early grades forward (before I learned to write in cursive, according to some very old school papers I found), I was writing poetry. My father, however, wanted me to be a teacher -- his mother was a teacher, and he believed that was a worthy calling for any woman. (Of course, he also believed that women did not deserve to be paid as much as a man who held the same position.) Bottom line: I kept writing. I did not become a teacher. No doubt, he was very disappointed in me; but like you, Morgan, I could not picture myself standing in front of classroom full of students -- a terrifying thought then and now.

    A few years ago, my father died. He had lived into his early 90s, and his mental faculties remained sharp all those years. However, he didn't live long enough to know that his disappointing daughter (then in her 60s) was teaching other writers how to write. Manuscript editing had segued into mentoring sessions, and writers grew in their ability to turn an ordinary story into a compelling book. Had he known, he might have felt some satisfaction that he had been right about what I needed to do with my life. More likely, he would have bemoaned the fact that I was such a late bloomer who had wasted her best years doing something besides teaching.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

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  9. I taught junior high, pre-school, and worked for the Zoological Society of Florida as their Outreach Coordinator, so I've been teaching a long time. I guess that sticks with you, because although I don't "teach" in the professional sense of the word, I do love sharing information on my blog and giving on line workshops as well as in person ones.

    Terry
    Terry's Place

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  10. I, too, am a teacher at heart, and actually went to college to become an art teacher. Then became practical and switched to business and accounting. Then switched back to art and became a gallery owner. then switched back to writing (my secondary love during the art years), and through it all, I taught what I had learned. Now I should teach people how to bounce around with style and have fun doing it. Hahahaha. My favorite students are at the college level, no doubt about that.

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  11. I also remember (being the eldest of six) all the lesson plans I foisted on my siblings when we were children playing "school". Early teaching practice. They still hate me for it. Hahahaha. Fun post, Morgan!

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  12. I'd like to think I'm somewhat of a teacher, but I may never know if anyone really takes something away from my blogs or not. I mean something lasting. In the meantime, it's fun sharing the things I've learned from others and from experience. Great post, Morgan!
    Marja McGraw

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  13. It used to be better, but since the advent of computers, my handwriting has become atrocious. I always admired the handwriting of my teachers. I'd guess teaching still has some handwriting involved, though computers are everywhere.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

    PS Just noticed my other comment said everyone has someone, when I meant to say everyone has something. Never type in a hurry!

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  14. I did everything to become a teacher except apply for my teaching certificate--decided I really didn't want to teach after all. Then, in my 50s I started to teach community adult classes in memoir and beginning fiction writing and found that I really enjoyed it!!

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  15. Before my kids came along, I taught at two different colleges. I'm not a teacher now, at least not one that gets paid. There are times I miss teaching, though.

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  16. I use to be a substitute teacher long before you had to be qualified with certificates and degrees. I enjoyed meeting the students and although I was a substitute I enjoyed teaching them the subject for that day. I currently feel that I am somewhat of a virtual teacher because I function online a lot and I assist authors. Not sure if you can call it teaching but I help them along their way with self-publishing, finding service providers and the like. I certainly like your credentials and find that someone who doesn't charge for virtual seminars for lack of a better word. Take care and be well! Keep up the good work!

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  17. My teaching includes applied mathematics and English. I had taught at a College and overseas at Universities, Junior Colleges and private education businesses. It even included lessons via videoconferencing.

    But these days I'm doing any virtual teaching.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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