Those Who Can… Geek Teach.

I love browsing through Geek Girls Network — it’s sort of like a shout out from all kinds of different women in all sorts of geek niches.  Sometimes I read some interesting or provocative pieces.  And sometimes someone is just complaining because she doesn’t like what might possibly, maybe (or not, since no one knows) be the plot of the next Star Trek movie.

Today I read Bree Bower’s On Occasion, being a Geek Stresses Me Out…  She generally carries on the theme of finding her creative, genuine self and being inspired by all the various geek awesomeness all over the internet.  She also says the torrent of geek amazingness sometimes stresses her out because there’s so much out there to digest:

Henceforth my new goal is to figure out how to handle that geek tidal wave that constantly pours at me as I surf or sometimes just dog-paddle my way through it in search of my own geek niche. That may take a while yet, and my arms may get exhausted from trying to stay above the surface, but I will press on, because remaining young and geeky at heart is where I find pure, child-like enjoyment.

All that is well and fine, and each of us finds our own way through the tidal wave of what we find interesting.   HOWEVER— it’s just like me to pick out the one part of her post that really got me annoyed:

Part of the problem is my loss of creativity. After teaching for three years where my brain was not challenged creatively, I have definitely lost my childhood knack for inventing wild and unique stories and crafts.

How does one teach without being challenged creatively?  I don’t get this at all.  Teaching for me is the ultimate creative challenge — and, not to put too fine a point on it, the ultimate geek challenge!  Recall the Wheaton / Scalzi definition of Geek: Being a Geek means loving something so much you squee at the thought of it and you want to share its goodness with EVERYONE!  Almost everyone is a geek about something.  And being a teacher is an AMAZING way to be a geek and express your love of anything through the gift of passing on knowledge.  Whether you reference Harry Potter, Star Trek, the Empire, your favorite Space Cowboy, your favorite Doctor, or your current obsession with Sherlock– ANY creative geek outlet can be used to teach anything from civics to sociology to math to science to reading to… anything!  It’s not only a way to connect with kids or any age of students, it’s a way to apply sometimes abstract ideas to a relatable story or example….or creative project or writing sample.

The reason I miss teaching full time so much is exactly the creative outlet and challenge that it is!  If you are imparting ideas and hoping to engage young people in critical thinking, you constantly have to learn new stuff, teach yourself how to do new things, explore universes you’ve never visited, and speak new languages.  Then you try to compile it all into a creative way to hopefully blow a few minds.  How she could have done three years of teaching and LOST her creative self is a wonder to me.  She doesn’t say what she taught, and she later references “the corporate world,” so I’m not sure what sort of teaching she engaged in.  And I’m not judging her personally.  It probably just bent me a bit sideways because my passion for teaching AND the ‘endless-variety’ nature of geekdom have always been a pairing that has added endless ideas and creativity to my life.  I hope that in her search for creativity, Bree will find her personal outlet.

But for the rest of us geek teachers, we already have a great one – teaching!

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