I was asked a very good question this week - who do I most like to teach?
Young or old, writers who've already tried to put together a novel, or those just starting out? Schoolchildren, interested in journalism, or college students? Etc...
It didn't take much thinking to come up with an answer.
I've been criticised a few times for teaching at private schools. And I tend to come up with a robust response.
Ok, we adults might sit around for hours having an intellectual debate about the pros and cons of private education. But that overlooks an important point -
The kids didn't choose to be where they are. They're just children, whether at a state school or private. They're just trying to learn and find their way in the world.
And as to whether I prefer teaching older or younger writers -
They're just people who want to write. Who sense the joy of the art. Who want to get on and do the best they can at it.
(On the subject of older or younger, I can't resist a quick visual interlude, because it's so very cute, (and yes, it is riverbank related)) -
(The goslings are coming along nicely, happily.)
I'm always lifted when one of my writers makes a breakthrough, and this week just that very thing came to pass. Well done Barbara on getting yourself an agent.
What's particularly delightful about her story - Barbara is a little older than most aspiring writers. She took ten years getting somewhere with her book.
And she's shown us all, and how, that if you've got talent and persistence, you can do it.
So on the question of who I most like to teach? Who I most like to help on their way, watch them skip joyfully into a fine future, old or young, or whatever. The answer is simple -
People. Just people.