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Writing or Teaching? Not Both. . .

October 8, 2012

Thoughts From The Corner

Many moons ago, before I became a home English teacher, I was introduced to a saying:

If you can’t do it – teach it!

I first heard it said by an English tutor at university. I wrote it down as part of my English notes for the seminar and underlined it. I don’t know why I underlined it but I did. Not so long ago, I was sorting out my old university folders and I happened upon the aforementioned maxim.

It set me a-thinkin’ on the twists and turns of life’s experiences as we meander on through and work our way down to sea of tranquility. . .  There is another saying:

Everyone has a book in them

Books and English teacher’s go together like jam and kippers. So, it only seems natural that one who wax’s lyrically about what is good in the literary world, would want to emulate that ‘good quality’ and write books themselves. Probably true. If anyone has a book within them, bursting to break forth from the inner dust jacket of their minds, it is probably an English teacher.

"english tutor"

Teacher (Photo credit: tim ellis)

Therein lies the very heart of the adage – ‘If you can’t do it – teach it!’. Harsh but true. That is not to say, however, that someone who can’t write a novel can actually teach it. Education has taught me many things. One of them is that teaching is divided into two. Knowing your ‘stuff’ and being able to teach it. Sometimes the two come together and sometimes the educator has only one of those two qualities. How many times have we sat in a school room or lecture theatre bored stiff because the person obviously knew their subject but just couldn’t put it over? ‘Too many’, I hear you mutter and chunter!

So, if that person is one who can’t ‘do it’ and has had to settle for ‘teaching it’, then that would be a double whammy, wouldn’t it? Having that book locked away inside somewhere and unable write it is bad enough, but then going into teaching and not even being able to do that, is indeed painful for all concerned – individual and class alike.

I only hope that, as a home English teacher, my novel eventually comes out – in the meantime, I hope that I am actually able to ‘teach it’!

"english tutor"

Everyone has a book in them somewhere

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