This quarter, I’m taking a class called Writing 160: The Theory and Practice of Writing Center Consulting. And frankly, I fell in love with the idea of the class from the moment I signed up for it. Essentially, the class teaches you how to teach people how to write and this is exactly the class that I needed to take to provide me with a rejuvenated sense of passion for writing.
In our first session of class, we learned about first- and second-order thinking and the benefits of both. In first-order thinking, it is just your creative juices flowing out onto the page, without inhibition or restraint, with no set formula or structure except the structure of natural chaos. In second-order thinking, the critique comes in and the writer decides which ideas are worth expanding on, how things should be ordered, and even the specific wording of certain ideas. Although on my blog, I have mainly done first-order thinking in order to hurl my ideas into internet-space and try and decipher what I truly think about topics, there is still an aspect of second-order thinking that plagues my creative ability. This isn’t to say that second-order thinking is any less generative than first-order thinking, but that in terms of allowing the box to be thought outside of, it creates a box for decorating, marring any potential for that box to become a sphere or a pyramid.
In that idea alone, I was freshly stimulated with regard to the act of writing. It opened my mind to the various nuances of writing itself and it allowed me to posit questions from an alternate point of view – the point of view of a teacher. This allowed me to really ask some interesting questions about writing itself, as if the imagined authority of being a teacher somehow elevated my mindset to one of having extensive knowledge of and insight on the topic, but still remaining humble in order to learn all the small lessons that life provided. It brought me to the thought that as a writing tutor, I had to first be teachable in order to teach; I shouldn’t have an excessive ego that transplants itself into the mind of my student, and therefore muffling his own unique voice. It was greatly refreshing to me to finally find a class that I had a great affinity for, and I am looking forward to giving that class my best effort in a quest to become an effective writing tutor, not just a good one.