It’s week two of the creative writing camp. A new wave of students rushes in with the excitement and activity of a bunch of hummingbirds. The college student mentors have still barely recovered from the last week. Not that it’s a hassle dealing with them. All I’m saying is that I’m a human being, and I can’t take a new group of students who continue poking me like I’m some exhibit on a side show circus!
Dramatics aside, this has been an interesting and enlightening experience. I remember sitting in my chair quietly throughout middle school, absorbing lots and day-dreaming some. At the time I saw teachers as recorders. Someone would hit the play button and then I would pay attention as I pleased. As far as I was concerned, the teacher would continue on with the lesson regardless of my state of mind.
From in front of the blackboard, I now realize that there is nothing more that a teacher wants than to know how engaged the students are. Is the material engaging? Am I teaching them material that they find worthwhile? Above all it’s brought me into a greater understanding of our schooling system. These kids are so accustomed to plopping their bottoms on a seat for hours on end, stifling complaints or comments. I appreciate this camp so much just because of the desire to break out of that cycle. When it comes to writing, we only want the kids to write what they want. But if they’ve only learned how to do what the teacher wants them to do, we arrive at an impasse. Progress is made every day though. Kids often come to us with question on an assignment. Our mantra is “Whatever you want.”