Well, so much has happened the last few weeks. I taught at my first conference March 4th. I got to rock an "Evolution of War Poetry" that got really great feedback by those in attendance at the "Write to Learn' conference. The best part was, there were a few "I don't like writing, especially poetry" people at the start of the lesson, you know the kind....they begin every writing exercise with a groan :) Anyways, at the end, I had some of them saying our activity was so fun, they kind of wanted to do it again. Two of those really cool people even wrote a little poem for me with the help of a few margaritas after the lesson:
Tony, our decorated Vet
In Tan-Tar-A we met
A poem you taught us
You let us cuss
A Corpsman we'll never forget.
Jill & Aunt Sue
I love this poem because:
1.) Limericks are fun.
2.) Anything written by people that don't enjoy writing is a success in my book.
Then, just a few days after the conference, I returned home to prepare for my first high school lesson. So I showed up to Rockbridge High School and rocked a lesson on the "History of the Blues". It was a very similar experience to the conference, lots of groaning, when they discovered that "Mr. Mena" was going to make them think....and write. But I saw a lot of eyes light up when I brought out the acoustic guitar and started rocking some live blues music. So, the best part about this experience was that we all wrote our own original blues verses and a good chunk of the students were brave enough to speak/sing their verses over some background guitar. This was very rewarding for me, as my personal philosophy of teaching has less to do with how much material you can cram into students, and more to do with how much confidence you can inspire into the students to believe in their own works.
So, lastly, I wrapped up last week by teaching at a Middle School Conference sponsored by the National Writing Project through the University of Missouri. This was quite an exhausting experience, as the previous two lessons were only an hour a piece, and this day involved three lessons for a total of FOUR HOURS! As a very energetic personality while teaching it was difficult to keep it up for four hours in a row. But I discovered there are some AMAZING young writers and I think I inspired a few to submit their work to get it published. Never too young to start! I got an e-mail from one of the kids saying "thanks for the lesson" and that he was going to submit his stuff soon. That was one of the most rewarding moments of my teaching career.
In poetry news, I have some fun stuff coming out in April, so stay tuned!!!!