Spring semester started. We’re cookin’. Moving along in great, surprising ways.
A question a relative, one of my favorite people on the planet, recently asked, “How come you became a teacher?” coupled with several occurrences has inspired me to write a magazine piece on my almost-half-a-century teaching.
Here’s some of what I’ll flesh out:
In a New School multi-gender restroom, a young man at the next sink took a copy of my book, ‘Writing from Personal Experience’ from his backpack and asked me to sign it. (a first at any sink in any restroom) He’d read several chapters, got closed out of my class—it’s filled—and just registered for my March Strand workshop. “My buddy took your class last year. He said you’re nice, but tough. I need that.”
Good. I use my toughness and niceness differently with different students. I keep learning. And learning ‘them.’ I love that challenge.
Two women, from my August Strand Bookstore Workshop, just joined my advanced class. One, a member 15 years ago and new to the present group, came to Session #1 with a strong, revealing essay and strong, direct comments on others’ work.
I love honesty. I love ‘unafraid.’
The youngest member of my workshop just had a piece published that she wrote in her first class with me. I spotted her talent immediately. Our lives could not be more different, but in writing her truths, she understands what is inside of me.
I love when that happens.
I love that my Strand workshop is happening again. I love that three August attendees sold the essays they wrote there. Again, I’ll use my 48 years of teaching to instruct. Inspire. Engage. Give attendees excellent exercises allowing them to dig deep and be themselves.
Join us March 12. I love the Strand.
A student in my class for 10 years, who’s been publishing his essays and is now writing a terrific memoir, gave me a Roz Chast book with a lovely note on which he wrote: “I started your class with the intention of recording some family stories for the next generation. You’ve taken me so much farther than that.”
I became a teacher because I love sharing what I know and love sharing in my students’ growth.