The Chaser Solution: Chapter One: You cannot teach if you are unwilling to learn. You cannot write unless you are willing to read different perspectives.

I took at course from Harvard’s Derek Bok School which specializes in teaching about teaching and learning. I have been eying taking that course for a long time, but then the devil came to brawl with me in April; so that was out of the question until September when the winner of that death match finally got to sign up.

Some people would have gone on vacation. I wanted to learn, and keep my teaching up to code.

If the class is a good one, you (a) learn new things from the course/instructors, and (b) learn new things from others taking the course. It should humble you as it builds confidence.

And I learned a lot from both, and both exceeded all expectations. I highly recommend taking it.

I learned a lot from myself, too. I have an instinct for teaching, but I had never codified my strategies for it until I took the course. It was all swimming up there in that anarchistic chaos known as my mind.

I could be a student forever. I always loved learning. I could be a teacher forever. I love teaching just as much.

You don’t trade one for the other. They work hand in hand together. The more you are willing to admit that you don’t know everything, the better student and teacher you become.

The same goes for writing. You cannot be a good writer if you think you know everything. You have to read in order to write. You have to study the minds and the hearts of others in order to not just understand other people, but also yourself.

I am still not finished packing all of my books. I have new books and old books. Someone just gave me a biography of Ruth Bader Ginsberg for Christmas. I can’t wait to read it. I have about ten books that are due to arrive from Amazon. I never stop reading.

The problems in journalism aren’t problems with book publishing. It is the reason why that industry’s collapse utterly mystifies me.

I have books on educational psychology, calculus, public speaking, astronomy, and acting. I am a big fan of the Chekov Technique, for instance. I also have books on how to communicate with children. I have books on metalworking, such as chasing and forging. I have fiction, and more Penguin Classics than you can imagine, but I also have new fiction.

But mostly nonfiction.

I always hunger to learn. Not just facts. I love humour. I love to laugh out loud.

Being outrageous doesn’t mean being irrational or frivolous. When humour is a tool and not a weapon, that’s when fortunes start to turn around…

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