Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Kingdom for a Writer


Oh, boy.
I'm in the thick of teaching a summer school--"Creative Writing"-- class to a group of kids that "hate writing and hate everything about writing." Great. No one warned me about this one. Sure, sure, I know everyone's assumption about summer school: the kids that are there are being forced to go to school. They'd much rather be out playing. And a million other good giglgles from my friends, "I can't beeeelieve you're going to teach summer school! Kids HATE summer school. You'll be eaten alive!" And then we all sat around and talked about the times that WE had to go to summer school and how much we either hated it (m.j. had an English Lit class) or loved it (i took math, and finally understood what it was all about).

But, I tried to explain to my non-teacher pals, for the last two years I've had to teach a summer school course, invent a lesson plan that was filled with homework and quizzes and spelling tests...This time, I was asked to teach a CREATIVE class. This time, it was gonna be fun! This time, I thought, I'll have all these tried and true writing games and ideas and they just won't be able to stop their creative brains from pouring out onto the paper! This time, I thought, it would be easier.

I stupidly assumed the kids that would be in my class this summer were the ones that LOVED to write and WANTED to write and couldn't WAIT to have all day to write. Write? Right? Wrong! By lunch time, my head hurts and is spinning with the questions and the comments and the complaints. Everything I come out with, we can't start without someone saying, "is it okay if i write about....?" Yes! I say, Yes! That's a great idea, go with that! "But, that can't really happen...so, can i write about....?" Um, okay, sure...do that instead. "Yeah, but, i don't really like that idea...so, can i do this instead?" YEEEEESSSSSS!!!! But, no. They don't. They find another reason to ask another question about something I've already gone over. Or, to remind me, once again, that they hate writing and hate everything about writing and how there is nothing in their head and they can't think of anything and their pencil is broken and look, they need another piece of paper and, really, how long til they can have a break?

I've got a million good ideas, all different ways of coming up with stories, alternates to this and that, I've read and studied and planned and yet......all i can think is: damn, it's only Tuesday.

7 comments:

Christina said...

ha! what i would give to have what these kids are getting for the next few weeks-- i want Molly to teach me creative writing during summer school! they have no idea what they're missing out on. one day i'm sure one them will look back and say-- 'you know it wasn't until that one summer when i had this great teacher that i really started to love writing.'

Ellen said...

You're like the Hillary Swank character in that movie I didn't see! I bet years from now you get a thank-you on the back flap of a novel one of these kids is going to write. Hang in there.

Deb said...

Good luck sister. Why not just have them keep a blog?

comfies said...

just an idea and i'm sure you have list a mile long of amazing molly-esque ideas but maybe you could add this one: first thing they can remember. have them write about their very first memory of all time. i've tried this one on an eleven year old with writer's block and it worked out beautifully.

molly said...

oh, you're all so great. thank you: for the words of wisdom and sweet-ness. they've all come a bit further since tuesday and truly, my middle school kids stories are A-mazing! I'd love to post them!

nora said...
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bonbon said...
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