I was a senior lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton in England. It's an institution proud of its status as a university of widening participation.
Teaching writing is fun and personally rewarding. I don't mean financially - the pay can never be commensurate with the amount of hours any good creative writing teacher puts into giving feedback, providing pastoral support and mentoring students even after they've graduated. But what a lot I learned about the craft of writing from facilitating the process for my students. And what great folk I met.
My over-arching philosophy about teaching writing is that itis more about process than product; it is the journey, not the destination which will stand us in good artistic stead. As Mary Cantrell says: “Consistent perfection is not a requirement for becoming a writer”*
I run one-off writing workshops for various arts organisations and had the privilege of tutoring a group of young San writers in South Africa in 2011. Among them, more than any other students, I saw collaborative learning achieve the results educational theorists dream of.
I don't think it's necessary to study Creative Writing in order to produce a novel, script or poem. With talent and determination it can be done. But there's a lot to be said for being in the company of other writers while learning the craft.
* Cantrell, M. (2005) Teaching and Evaluation: Why Bother? pp 65 -75 In Leahy, A (ed). Power and Identity in the Creative Writing Classroom: The Authority Project. (New Writing Viewpoints). Toronto: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
My esteemed colleagues in the department of Creative and Professional ...dressing.
Johnny 'Paparazzi' Bok, a San delegate at the 'Documenting Now' workshop, !Khwa ttu, South Africa. August 2011