I love taking classes.  I teach classes all the time– writing, poetry, Sunday School, journaling– but I rarely take on the role of student. 

Most teachers will tell you that having a student teach a concept to others is one of the best ways for that student to truly learn it themselves.  There’s something about role reversal that seems to make everything line up, click into place, and come together.

As a runner, I became much better once I began to coach.  My coach taught me, and I, in turn, have taught others.  When I tell people what they should be doing, it makes me more conscious of what I’m doing as well.

And we never really truly appreciate our parents until the shoe is on the other foot, and we are the poor soul counting to 10 while our toddler pitches a fit or our teenager rolls his or her eyes.  It’s the chance to be on the opposite side of the fence that seems to bring us that sudden clarity.

The same is true for taking classes.  Three years ago, I took my first class since graduate school.  I signed up for a memoir writing class at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.  It was five days of intensive, soul-searching writing, and I didn’t have to plan one single second of it.  I was responsible only for myself and my own work.  It was fantastic!

Right away, I was hooked on being the student rather than always being the teacher.  There was great freedom in it.

A year later, I signed up for Shannon Kinney-Duh’s art journaling class, Inside Out, which was great because it focused on one thing I know– writing– and one thing I love but hadn’t experimented with in a while– art.  I found myself eager to get out of bed in the morning just so I could check in and find the newest lesson Shannon had posted.

Thus began my love affair with e-courses.  I have since participated in Hannah Marcotti’s Joy Up and a program offered by Kathryn Postulka of Inspired Healthy Life.  And now I’m taking Liv Lane’s course, How to Build a Blog You Truly Love. (This might explain the strange happenings around here if you’ve been by in the last few days.  I’ve been playing around with all sorts of design elements and new features, and I’m really excited to see what unfolds over the next few weeks.)

Sometimes it’s nice to step back into being a student.  Most people, once they finally get out of school, leave without ever looking back, but I think there is great value in continuing to seek out new ways of learning.  For some, that might be continuing education courses at a local college.  For others, it might mean going back for another degree, and for others, it might be signing up for an e-course or online program geared toward something they’ve always wondered about but never had the time to explore. 

There are lots of courses like that to choose from– a veritable wonderland of new learning experiences that range from how to create a better blog to mixed media collage to journaling to raw food diets.  In other words, there is something for everyone.

Who knows of a great program that’s coming up this summer or fall?  If you do, or even better, if you have one yourself, go to my FaceBook page, Running Monologue, and tell us about it.