English Composition II - Dr. Lovell's class

Page 5:  Twenty-Four Questions: An Interview with Alberto Alvaro Rios

[Page 1: On Writing]    [Page 2: On the Writing Process]     [Page 3: On Reading] 
[Page 4: On Creativity and Imagination] [Page 5: On Teaching] [Page 6: On Culture]  
[Page 7: Some General Questions]    [Page 8: On the September 11th Attacks]  
[Page 9: An Essay by Ríos on the September 11th Attacks:"The Night of No Airplanes"
            and Some Final Comments]

On Teaching

Melissa Childers: What made you become a teacher? 

AR: I became a teacher, mostly because, in my later years, really--I didn't have teachers. I had plenty of managers, but that's not the same thing. In becoming a teacher I have always tried to give what I did not get, and to make what I give be to my student's benefit, not mine. I don't know if that sounds corny or whatever, and I did indeed have many teachers I really loved as people. But look to yourself as well, and to books, and to the world. Look especially to what would seem not to have anything to offer--that's the great secret. We rarely know what we think we know. 

Laura Whitaker: Did you have teacher(s) that helped you to develop your writing? Does this still continue to be a process for you? I am a chaplain and it is easy for me to inquire or come up with questions to ask others; it is more difficult for me to come up with answers for those questions when I ask them of myself. Thank you for your work with us; it will be most helpful. 

AR: Did I have a teacher who helped me with my writing? The serious answer is no. That's why I became a teacher, and have stayed with it. I have always wanted to give to my students something that was never given to me. I certainly have more to say on this, but it would take up some real time! I do think teachers can help, however, or I wouldn't have become one. In my particular circumstances, especially in elementary and high school, teachers were much more concerned with more practical, vocational applications, and writing poems and stories didn't fit into that mindset. I appreciate your comment about the difficulty of answering questions, as opposed to simply asking them. 

Kim Woodall: Hello Mr. Ríos. I think it is great that you are taking time to visit our class. How much of your work do you use in your own classroom to teach creative writing? 

AR: Hello, Kim. This is a good question. How much of my own work do I use in my own classroom? None. That is, I don't use any of my own creative work. I do, on the other hand, use essays and such that I've written about writing. My feeling is that the classes I teach are about my students, not me--my students and their work. Sometimes I make exceptions in special circumstances, but I often have students come back after the semester is over and they are shocked to learn that I've actually written books. 

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Web page author and instructor: Dr. Linda Lovell
This page was last updated on 11/20/2007.