I began teaching at my local co-op for the first time this week. I’ve never had a steady teaching gig, other than homeschooling my own kids, so it’s a new adventure that’s off to a fun start.
Although this is a new experience, I have run workshops and forums on writing. I took over directing in choir for a song my senior year of high school and we only had 1 flat note or so. Those experiences taught me that I’m pretty good at communicating information and teaching others.
My first co-op class of the day was teaching high school journalism. Nonfiction’s popularity was easily displayed by the 3 students who signed up. 1 dropped, and another came to check things out at his father’s request. But I already knew this subject would be less popular.
It’s not an easy task, reporting on tragedies or finding inspiration in the dreariest of places. Despite this I like smaller crowds so it suited me. I’m a rare non-coffee-drinking-extroverted-writer, but I do find one-on-one/smaller group interactions more rewarding. We went over formatting, article examples, and even got in a bit of writing.
The next class was very much the opposite. I have a full roster of upper-elementary school children who want to create their own stories.
This more fiction-based class grew so packed that I had parents contacting me to ask if I could take on a few extra students. And of course I did. This class enjoyed coloring character designs more than writing. They liked talking about books they love and how they want to be writers when they grow up.
These 2 very different courses remind me how different writing styles can be. Yet, while nonfiction and fiction are viewed and approached from opposing angles, they are linked and I hope to properly convey that to all the students in both of my classes. I’m hoping to break down the wall that divides fiction and nonfiction to a degree. Yes, one records true events and the other is more imaginative but I find that our imaginations are more appreciated when we live in the real world, and enjoying a bit of fantasy is also good for the soul after too much seriousness.
I may not have a teaching degree, and I’ve only ever obtained by AA, but experience has gifted me a great career and the ability to aid new writers as they develop their own processes. I’m also a teacher’s aid for a Financial Peace class so that’s fun, and educational. Here’s hoping not all of my journalism students drop the course and that the younger kids finish a story.
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