I’ve been writing lesson plans the last several weeks. I honestly thought that I had officially retired from teaching in 2016, but God had different plans for me I guess. On Friday, I will once again step in front of a class full of Junior-Senior High students to teach a Creative Writing course. It will be a far different experience for me as well as my students because it is supposed to be a fully elective course for students, most of whom have been homeschooled since kindergarten. There is no homework for the students, and no marking or grading for me. It’s teaching creative writing to kids who want to be there, not forced to be there, and it is just for “fun”!
My daughter, who is a lead teacher for the online and hybrid programs at the private Christian School we both taught at years before, asked if I would teach a Creative Writing course for what they call F@B (FAB) Fridays. It’s an opportunity for the students to meet in person for socialization as well as have some in-class instruction.
It’s a six week course, and I’m already discovering the challenges of trying to put together tons of material and condensing it to just the basics. Let’s face it, writing is an acquisition of knowledge, taking courses, reading, skill development, and so much more. For me, it has taken a lifetime to learn my craft and I’m still learning! I learn by doing, creating by trial and error sometimes, breaking some rules in writing, and meticulously following others. It’s pondering the daunting challenge of a blank page, and then like a painter on a blank canvas, I begin to colour the manuscript with words. It’s painting (writing) myself into a corner, and trying to figure a way out. It’s showing, not telling, and hours and hours of editing, and in some cases deleting and starting over. Writing can be an all-consuming investment in time, energy and personal resources. It is also an opportunity to minister, to spark imagination, elicit deep emotion, and bring great joy to the reader as well as the writer.
How do I convey that passion to my class in six weeks?
So, I’ve made the bold decision to just let them write. I will supply the writing prompts, let them play a variety of writing games and applaud the effort rather than the content alone. I want to put the “creative” back in writing. We won’t be as overly concerned about the conventions of writing, although I will feel a failure if they can’t use there, their or they’re correctly.
Well, maybe I will include one lesson on editing …
I will let you know how it goes.
There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”
― Beatrix Potter