This week I am teaching at the Denver Writing Project’s Young Writers Camp. I participated the first time last summer. I was super discouraged and beat up by my school year. I had a really tough spring for a lot of different reasons, and was apprehensive about doing the camp. But this year I’m back and obviously had a great experience.
First, the caliber of teachers who participates in this experience is truly incredible. Last year I walked away from this group with so many ideas for my classroom. And just today, one of the gals who is teaching one of the workshops used stickers. To watch the middle schooler’s faces light up when she gave them their small, but heart-felt prize was priceless and reminded me the power of small reward, those atta boys we all crave.
That is not even to mention the kids that do this camp. It is the kids last year that gave me hope in teaching once again. I really had lost hope last year. I had begun to think that maybe it was time to get out of teaching, that I wasn’t good enough for the profession. Who would think in a million years that being in a room with 40 middle schoolers would reinstate hope and passion? Not me, that’s for sure.
Just a small taste of how awesome these kids are: their biggest complaint in their feedback last year was that they didn’t get enough writing time. I mean, did I die and go to heaven. What middle schooler says that, right?