I had a conversation yesterday that caused me to think about my ‘Writing and Publishing’ class and the options available. The discussion was with Bill Batton, the prisoner Adult Continuing Education coordinator, and had to do with what I will be teaching next quarter. His question was simple, “Do you want to teach Writing and Publishing again or do you want to teach the Professional Writing course that you spoke about several weeks ago?” While a simple question, coming to the answer is anything but simple.
Right now, “Writing and Publishing” is a class focused on both writing and publishing. But it isn’t a creative writing class. It’s more informative. It empowers the participants to get their work published or at least know how to. Through the process of teaching this class I have heard time and time again that the students want a true writing class, a class where we meet to write, not be informed about how to publish their work.
I have several thoughts on the matter that I’d like to share with you. For starters, I’m certainly open to the idea and even willing to teach it. But I’m concerned with the work involved. Now that I’ve been around in the Education Department for a while, I can see that students like the idea of really working and growing, but they rarely are willing to put in the effort to do so. There are only a few who will really put in the work and see a project through. This is especially true with the voluntary nature of the Adult Continuing Education program.
The other large concern is a curriculum. I have spent some serious time crafting the “Writing and Publishing” curriculum. It’s a good curriculum and is still developing with each class that I teach. I don’t know if I have it in me to craft another curriculum right now with all of the other projects that I’m taking on. Not that it couldn’t be done but that I might do so during the next class and offer the “Professional Writing” course the following quarter.
The final thought is one of my current workload. Right now I am swamped. That’s the truth of the matter. I’m actively looking for places where I can shed extraneous work and utilize that time for more important work. For example, I want to take on a larger class load in college and I need to devote more time to this blog and to revising my novel, Practice Electra. To add to this, I would like to continue teaching “Writing and Publishing” until I reach the point of fulfillment, which would be when each of the prisoner-students of FCI-Petersburg have had a chance to sign up and take the class.
I guess that I just want to open the floor to all who might have a comment. What are your thoughts? You know me. Tell me, in your infinite wisdom, what you think the right path for me is. I’m all ears and would appreciate anything you have to say.

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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