I used to belong to a writing club when I lived in Salt Lake. We usually ended up providing free therapy for each other more than useful feedback on the writing we shared, but it was a fun, positive experience for me. I've been wanting to start my own writing group since I moved here, but I have never felt like I could find enough willing participants to make it really fly, so I've never followed through.
But then I realized that I am surrounded by willing participants every day in my profession. I asked my principal, and he said yes as long as I don't expect to get paid for my extra time (which, duh!, if I don't know that by now I must be pretty danged stupid!!!). So I started a writing club at the middle school. The day of the first meeting I was soooooo nervous. What if nobody comes? I thought. What if everyone thinks it's stupid idea? But guess what? Students came. Twenty-five of them. That's like a whole classroom filled with 8th and 9th grader who came willingly to an after-school writing club. WOW! And the next time we met, we had 27! I just couldn't believe it.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with all the apathy I see in many students from day to day. I sometimes feel like I'm not making a difference at all--that I'm sending an entire generation into the workplace without any real language and communication skills. But then there are moments when 27 kids show up after school to spend an hour learning how to be better writers and it brings some value into it all.
November is National Novel Writing Month. Writers all over the country participate by writing a 50,000 word novel between the 1st and 30th of November. I am proud to say that we have a group of students from Box Elder Middle participating! What a great experience for them. My Emma is even working up a file of character profiles in preparation for writing a novel (she probably won't make the 50,000 words in November, but she's working toward something, and I love it!). I just love being a teacher.
Yay for writing!