I’m not a teacher, but…

I’m glad I agreed to teach this class at the Belin-Blank Center. When Catherine first asked me, I kind of hemmed and hawed about it for a while. I’m a writer, not a teacher. What do I know about teaching? Sure, I’ve done a one-day class for them before. And I sometimes do workshops when I do school visits. I even did a 6-week workshop for teens that turned into the monthly group at the library. But I’ve never done a 3-hour-a-day-every-day-for-two-weeks kind of class before. Three hours a day, every day for two weeks is 30 hours of class time! What in the world would I do with these kids for 30 hours??? Well, after day one, I think I’m in pretty good shape…it’s actually kind of nice to have all this time. There’s A LOT you can do in 30 hours!

I’ve got a great class! Lots of talent. (Well, they ARE “gifted and talented”…the Belin-Blank Center is an International Center for gifted and talented education) One of the kids (going into 5th grade) blew me away with the voice in her story today. And this was a story the kids whipped up in about 20 minutes after a silly little “idea generator” activity.

This is a great age to work with, too (4th-7th graders). They’re eager to learn, willing to take risks and try new things, willing to participate. They’re all in my class because they want to be. They like writing. (Well, if any of their parents signed them up against their will, they 1) didn’t admit it when I asked them why they signed up, and 2) hide it well.) And an added bonus: they’re FICTION writers! I have a lot more to offer kids who are interested in writing fiction than I do kids who write poetry. It’s a real pleasure to work with a group of talented kids who enjoy writing.

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