I told a friend today that I felt like somewhat of a fraud as a teacher of writing in business. This isn’t meant to discount my experience as a teacher, my experience as a writer, or my experience studying rhetoric; what I meant is that I haven’t written a lot for business settings (sure, tons of cover letters and revising my resume many, many times, but the experiences I draw from in more business/organizational settings have required far less formal reports and emails among colleagues).*
I think I’m doing a fair job, but what I’m most enjoying is learning what works and what doesn’t work from the successes and misses in my students’ writing. I felt that when I was teaching first-year writing as a first-year graduate student, that that experience helped me to improve my own writing more than anything else. Now, here I am learning along with my students about opening lines to business memos, about what makes a helpful subject line, about how to summarize â€” based on what I am seeing students do that is highly successful (and having the joy of writing notes of praise in the margins), as well as seeing what doesn’t work so well (and finding myself thinking through why I am having resistance as a reader or why I am finding myself confused as a reader, so that I can help explain to students what is and is not working in their writing).
It’s good to be back in the classroom.
* My friend replied, “Well, those can’t do, teach.” I replied with the joke we told when I taught middle school: “And those who can’t teach, teach PE.”