A Magnificent Moment

There is a moment that anyone who teaches any subject will probably prize above just about any other.

It's not a student passing an exam, or getting a good mark for an essay, or anything like that. 

Yes, they're important. But this is much more so. 

It's fundamental and profound. Transformational, in fact. The very essence of what the art of teaching is about. 

It's the moment of understanding. 

I had the privilege of teaching all week at the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School - this is the first letter in my A to Z of Novel Writing course, and my lovely group. 

Many warm memories will always stay with me of the week. But one above all. 

Perhaps it was the subject, or maybe I was lucky with the group, but from my position, at the front, so many times I saw that moment in the eyes of those looking at me - 

The blink of wonder as understanding materialised in the mind, and all in just an instant of time. 

It's little short of a miracle, always sends a shudder through my skin, and is the whole point of teaching distilled into a mere second of life. 

In a word - wow. 

And one more point - 

For me, good teaching always has a ripple effect. 

I know that the 26 elements we discussed, all those that go into writing a novel, won't stay in that hall. 

They'll echo in the minds of the group, as they put their talent to work and go write their books. 

And they'll pass the understanding on to their writing friends, who, in turn, will also pass it on. 

That's the wonder of teaching, and that magnificent moment of understanding.