This urge to write has led me on a circuitous path; sometimes I have taken long detours away from writing. Some of my urge to write emerges from a desire to learn.
Beyond learning the content of the course, I learned how to learn efficiently, to grab at the main concepts, and to describe them in ways I thought my audiences would understand.
I never intended to be a teacher, but when that was my role, I embraced it with gusto and learned all I could.
After a ten-year career as an instructor at a for-profit career college, I agree with that statement.
I taught courses in marketing, management, public speaking, general office procedures, computer applications such as Word, Excel, Access, Power Point… and on and on, because that is what we did as instructors—we taught what we were assigned to teach.
(You heard it here first.) Some of my urge to write stems from a compulsion to understand people. I’m not much of a networker, but when I’m trying to make small talk, I can always fall back on my desire to understand why people do what they do, why they believe what they believe. I recently attended a reunion of people who graduated from my elementary school. I want to know what their lives are like, what they enjoy, how they think about things, how the years have been for them. I hesitated to write about this aspect of my urge to write. ===================================== In the past few years, I’ve written and published two books for my dissertator audience.
The reunion was held in honor of a revered teacher; however, I was mainly interested in seeing people I went to school with almost fifty years ago (yes, I am that old). The beloved teacher didn’t remember any of us, but we remembered each other. However, I would be dishonest if I claimed I didn’t care about being understood. is the first book in a series of small handbooks written especially for dissertators attending courses at online for-profit universities.
I finally realized why I get so much joy from seeing people I went to school with many years ago. All of my writing projects have in some form or another emerged from a desire to be heard, to be seen, to be recognized, to be acknowledged. I want to tell my stories, and I hope a few others would be willing to listen, the way I hope to hear their stories. I’ve come to believe it is more important to seek to build bridges to others than to demand they build bridges to me. These nontraditional dissertators are unique: They often don’t receive adequate attention and support from mentors and peers.
If I had to choose only one (and if I could consciously choose), I would choose to understand rather than to be understood. I will keep writing because that is who I am, that’s what writers do. My intention with this series is to fill in the gaps so these isolated online learners can overcome obstacles and earn their degrees.
In fact, that teaching job inspired me to enroll in graduate school (and allowed me to pay for it, one course at a time). The career college campus went belly up a few months before I finished my degree.
I blogged about my adventures in dissertation hell.