……for young writers, which is not only a new thing for me to do, but also something I’d never thought I’d do – teach. My parents and brother are retired teachers and, having grown up in that environment, it was something that didn’t really interest me. This is despite the Myers-Briggs test indicating that it should be my number one career choice. I don’t think that Myers-Briggs knows me very well.
In the traditional classroom setting, I don’t think I would make a good teacher. My memories of being a student and watching my parents deal with the day to day details made a huge impression on me and it wasn’t positive. However, I did find myself teaching basic horse care and riding to students whose first language wasn’t English. Even with the language barrier, we found a way to communicate and I was able to get the salient points across. It helped that the horses used were also extremely patient baby-sitters, taking everything in stride and enjoying the new students’ attention.
While I know my own experiences with being a writer (the ups, the downs, the sideways), I was very unsure of how it would work out with teaching young people. I was also rather uncertain about how we’d get along. In short, I had no idea what to expect.
I needn’t have worried – these kids were theater kids. They were also fans of a lot of the same movies and TV shows as I was, so we were able to connect and find common ground very quickly. We talked about writing, which turned into conversations about our favorite shows and then to dreams and analyzing what they might mean (I subscribe to Jung’s approach, where everything we dream is an aspect or reflection of the dreamer).
The workshop lasted only three days, at ninety minutes each. The kids were intelligent and funny and engaging and very excited about the idea of writing. I feel blessed and lucky to have been able to do this, which in itself was rather serendipitous. How did I find myself teaching writing to young people? I asked a local youth theater group and the answer was “Let’s do this thing!”
Where it goes from here, I’m not sure. I just know that I’ve got some very interested youths and adults wanting to write and have fun with discovering their process.
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