Last night, as part of the New England Writing Project Retreat down at University of Connecticut, a large group of us teacher-writers wandered down to an Open Mic that had been set up as part of the retreat. The room was filled with high school creative writers, undergraduate and graduate students, and us teachers in the National Writing Project. All too often, we teachers write with other teachers. It’s as isolating as being in your classroom (although the National Writing Project is a place that helps dispel that feeling). So, to be part of an Open Mic event with students reading their writing (and in one case, singing a song, and in another, performing a one-act play) was fascinating and interesting and invigorating, and my ears overflowed with amazing poems. We were all equal — writers in a room of writers.
One of the teachers with me out his poem and, looking out at the crowd of young and older faces, smiled, and said, “I thought I would be reading to a group of English teachers,” but the kids were receptive and open to all sorts of writing.
Jason, here at UConn Writing Project, helped organize the event and I appreciated this kind of mix of teachers and young writers, who were clearly as happy to have us as their audience as we were to have them. I read a poem that I wrote over at Bud the Teacher’s blog this week. The poem is still in revision (I was scribbling on it in the seconds before I stood at the podium) but I felt like this was an audience that would accept whatever words flowed from my mouth.
Peace (in the poems),