As the old saying goes, “Those who can’t, teach.”¹
I start teaching a blogging class tonight, and the phrase applies to me in a round-about-way. Nothing is keeping me from blogging, I have been writing online (in various forms) since the early 2000s. Being paid to blog, however, has been quite the white whale/unicorn/Chinese Democracy. While I don’t paid to blog,² I do get asked to write for other websites, which has plenty of its own value—a quick thank you to The Idler, Lost Highway, TEDx Lansing, CiesaDesign, Elder Signs Press, Cinema Soldier, as well as Capital Area District Library and Capital City Film Festival (both coming soon).
This is where the class comes in. While I do not get paid to blog (unless you count the 2.3 cents I earned in Google Ads last year), I do get paid to teach a class on blogging. The class in question (hello students!) is for the Michigan State University Alumni Association’s Evening College. Got all that? It is a non-credit, continuing education course. I don’t give out grades or tests, but I do have homework (“Go home and watch Firefly. Then write an angry blog post about it being canceled.”)
Tonight marks my second semester teaching, with the biggest change being a switch from four sessions to six. My lesson plan is pretty much the same, just spread out a bit more. During my first semester, a friend teased me with, “So, you teach people how to type?”
Funny, but not quite. While I teach some basic blogging stuff (with social media thrown in), using WordPress.com is the focus of the class. WordPress is a powerful bit of software, and it has a bit of a learning curve for the uninitiated.
What I enjoy the most about teaching is it is, to use the zoo term, an enrichment exercise. Talking to a room full of adults for two hours once a week, for six weeks, is quite the shake-up to my routine. I usually spend my Monday evenings being terrible at board games. I am sure I will have some stories to tell after six weeks, which will make it back here—and it all comes full circle.
Also, the best part about teaching again is I had an excuse to buy a laser pointer.³ ZAP!
¹ Or in my case, “Those who shouldn’t, teach.”
² I am paid to write freelance articles, like those for Capital Gains, which I consider different than blogging. Still, online writing is online writing, in that any experience writing for others is good, paid or not.
³ I mentioned this to Stephanie, and she said, “You don’t already have one? What kind of a geek are you?”