DIY Teaching And The Problem With Institutions April 26th, 2012 In March, I started what might be called artisanal teaching. I developed an ad hoc course for freelancers after thinking about how opaque that world can be, and with a desire to create greater transparency. I’ve taught my entire adult life, but this year is my first without a syllabus to write. I was feeling the itch I guess. I really enjoyed working with the folks who signed up, and the course filled up quickly. So I set up another one for May. It is filled up quickly. The enrollees are predominantly female, but otherwise they span a range from Very Accomplished National Magazine Freelancers to college students interested in learning more. Now I’ve just announced a June “section” of “How To Pitch.” I’m still doing this ad hoc–I announce new courses when the previous one fills up, and I’m not sure how long I’ll keep doing this. Sometimes I consider offering other types of courses–a workshop to critique pitches? A course just on writing personal essays? I’ve done two face-to-face workshops in Cleveland, and may continue those as well. But it’s funny, this leaving teaching only to devise my own personal educational system, as it were. And it’s interesting, this word-of-mouth thing. My advertising budget is nil. I use twitter and Facebook to let people know about the courses. That’s it. When I’ve talked with friends about these courses, and the irony of my taking a leave from teaching only to start teaching again, they all immediately begin discussing institutions and their discontents. The bureaucracy, the overhead, the wasted time. So here’s my thesis, my point-last point: Behind the “crowd sourcing, start-up, kickstarter” culture we are developing may lie a troubled distrust of conventional institutions. It’s a rather Republican sentiment, in a way. I’m not entirely comfortable with this conceptually or theoretically. However, I’m extremely comfortable with the DIY teaching I’ve been doing. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.