I’ve been writing and teaching writing since my graduation from Wellesley College in the 1980’s. I started out as a reporter at two weekly newspapers – The Eastern Shore News as a summer reporter and then a few months at the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg, Virginia. I loved being a reporter, but was curious about video production – so I moved to Cox Cable Tidewater with the promise that I could learn how to make videos (film, write, edit) while making a small salary.
Once I’d learned what I set out to learn at Cox Cable – including writing two half-hour documentaries for them and logging hundreds of hours behind cameras at multi-camera shoots – I moved to Richmond, Virginia and on to graduate study in photography, video producer work with employee communications at Dominion Resources (then Virginia Power), and eventually settling into a diverse public relations gig at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children.
So – where does the teaching come in? After seven years at the VTCC, I wanted a job that gave me blocks of time free for the writing I wanted to do, but couldn’t find the energy for when I spent so much time writing for work. I imagined that summers off would give me time to develop my personal writing. What I didn’t realize was how hard teaching high school really is, and how rewarding. I also didn’t realize how much I would learn and grow personally through this career change.
That was the mid-1990’s. I’ve since held teaching positions in two large public high schools, in a governor’s school for the arts, in a high school communications specialty center, at two public universities, and at several community arts centers. Always teaching writing – sometimes as an English teacher, sometimes as a creative writing coach, sometimes as a journalism / media studies instructor. Writing is probably the thread, although reading and media studies are entwined throughout.
They say if you want to learn something, try to teach it. So very true.
They also say – those who can’t do, teach. Which is quite mean – but has truth in it. Teaching done well takes so much time and energy, that it is very hard to teach writing AND have time to write. Maybe I’ll get there some day.
For now, I’ve dusted off this blog to hold my teaching portfolio and provide a place for me to reflect on work that frequently consumes my life.
Here are my official professional “about me” docs: