Thursday, April 26, 2012

Writing Workshop at Washington Academy

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I had the opportunity to teach a workshop on writing at one of Maine's most prestigious High Schools, Washington Academy.  It was a learning experience for me, as well, for I had never done anything like this before.  Preparing the lesson plan and standing in front of a group of students was intimidating at first, but I managed to get through the first day well, and by the second day I was in fine form.

I entitled the workshop "The Mysteries and Trials of Freelance Writing," and it was basically a 4-hour crash-course on being a writer.  We went over some pointers about creating fiction and marketing it, as I intended to give them a basic understanding of what to expect if they pursue a career in fiction writing.

The students were very receptive, and they did a great job.  During the lesson, I had them write story plots, query letters, and they read "A Dwarf at High Noon," which they seemed to enjoy.  Some of the plots they came up with were quite detailed and interesting, even though they only had half an hour to write them.  I would not be surprised to see some of their stories in print someday.

As I said, this was also a learning experience for me, and it has given me a renewed sense of confidence in my own abilities.  I hadn't done a lot of public speaking, and never drafted a lesson plan before, so I was really working from scratch.  I drew upon my own knowledge and experiences, though I had no idea what to expect or how long it would take to go over the material I had prepared.

Based on student feedback and teacher comments, I believe I can place this workshop in the "success" column.  Despite my nerves and inexperience, I pulled it together and gave a worthwhile presentation (twice) that served its intended purpose.  Now I have a better understanding of the process, so any future classes will run even smoother.  I've already looking forward to next year, and have plans to augment my lesson plan in new and exciting ways.  For certain, I won't shy away from such an opportunity to impart my knowledge in the future.  We'll see what comes along.

There is a certain thrill in teaching young minds, and after spending two days in front of a class I can picture myself in some alternate reality as a teacher.  Though my current temperament and educational status preclude me from ever doing it on a professional level, it is nice to dabble on occasion.

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