I’m not sure anyone talks about college writing classes.
Movies say we have our classes in auditoriums. Those are only intro classes. Writing classes, also known as writing workshops, never have over eighteen people usually. I have one with twelve people right now. One time only six people showed up.
On the first day, we introduce ourselves for almost seven minutes each. We learn each other’s names, classifications, what we write, what we read, and what we want to improve on. We all sound awkward doing so. The professor, always older and with a persona of ‘wise’, asks questions about us and takes notes. He or she forms the syllabus as they interview us, getting to know what would be best to teach us.
We don’t face the front of the classroom. We face each other in a circle. The teacher joins us, sitting in a student desk. She or he doesn’t act higher than us, but directs us. We lead the conversation. Sometimes, it’s like the teacher isn’t even there. Three hours pass, once a week.
We can’t edit our own work, but we can edit each other’s. There’s always a few who don’t edit well. They can’t give me any critiques. But there’s always three or four who can rip my story into pieces, which I enjoy. Good editors outside of college aren’t usually free.
We bring drinks, food, and advice. We learn more from each other than by ourselves. The classes don’t always feel like a class. It’s a small community.