Anca Szilagyi is one of my favorite writers. We met at the MFA program at the University of Washington, where she counseled me on the vagaries of workshopping a novel. On August 1st, I was honored to help her read the title story of her collection More Like Home than Home, which she is polishing as a 2012-13 Made at Hugo House fellow.
I regularly teach creative writing at Hugo House, a nonprofit literary hub in Seattle, and the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference held by Centrum, a nonprofit arts center. But I began teaching at the University of Washington, spending three quarters as an instructor of English 131, a first-year student composition class, and two quarters as an intern for English 484, an advanced prose class.
I have been surprised by how much teaching has helped me clarify and deepen my relationship to the written word. As part of the UW English Department’s teacher training, I took a pedagogy class with Expository Writing Program Director and Professor Anis Bawarshi, who encouraged me to develop my teaching philosophy website. In it, I describe why writing matters to me. While that subject is far too complex to address in this blog post — perhaps Jhumpa Lahiri can help — here’s one element that I share with my students:
Why does writing matter? Writing teaches us to understand the world around us. In turn, it helps us to be understood by others.
In that quote, you can see my great hope. I explain my teaching philosophy here.