By the end of last quarter I had fallen completely out of love with my creative writing class, and I was crossing my fingers some of them would not come back for the 3rd quarter. Well, thank goodness I have been living clean because my class, although it has about half the old students, has a fresh new attitude.
It's not perfect. I have a loud-mouth (sometimes nasty) girl whom I booted out of my class last year, but once we established in the first couple of days that I would not hold a grudge, and she was able to tell her victim story (about how I wronged her) to anyone who would listen, things have been going okay. She still irritates me, but she is one of the best students, so we are getting by.
But--the rest of them! Wow!
I started off the quarter with poetry, and with this crazy, weird activity called Poetry Poker. My approach is: JUST HAVE FUN WITH THE WORDS! You know, I just about lost them the first night as they struggled to create these poems that didn't make much sense based on the hand they were dealt, but after a while, some of them started creating these incredibly poetic lines. Just one line of brilliance!
Every night, they start off by reading the poetry they wrote the night before, and then I introduce a new poem type. We talk about it, read a few examples, and then they brainstorm a word bank. For the rest of the class period, they fiddle around with the writing. To me, the amazing thing is that they are actually doing it.
Oh, I have these boys...they resist every night. In fact, there isn't a boy in that class who doesn't moan and groan, "Miss! How much longer are we going to be writing poetry?" But then, the next thing you know, they are putting words on paper and it's not bad stuff!
Most nights, it's not brilliant, but there are glimmers of brilliance in a few lines.
Last night, while everyone was discussing what colors their personalities and moods were, trying to express in their poems, I went back to my desk to work on a few things. They were engaged. And here came Marcus, dragging his chair right into my little desk space, to sit next to me. He has been the most resistant, yet when he gets in a groove, he starts writing some deep stuff. But last night, he cracked me up. He wanted to do it, but he didn't want to sit with the other boys or one of the girls whom he has been acquaintances with during the whole year. He wanted my attention; he wanted me to be his writing partner.
So, I coached him along, and before too long, here came Aaron, a student who has been in and out of my classes for the last three years, but earlier this year, we became closer when he was in my proficiency writing class. He was nearly finished and wanted me to read it, but instead of handing it across the desk for me to read, he crowded in behind my little desk area, too. Geez boys!
Apparently, they are getting the getting the feeling of intimacy that poetry--writing in general--can bring. When one shares his inner most thought with his strongest words, it's like opening a piece of the soul. Delicate and vulnerable one might feel, yet there's something about the sharing that becomes rewarding.
So, I guess when I start invading their personal mental space, they feel free to invade my personal physical space. As much as it surprises me, I don't mind. They are all reaping the rewards of a little time to think on a different level. I just hope they can tolerate it a little longer. More good stuff is to come!