Yesterday, I had a great experience. I was asked by a student to give a presentation to her ‘Writers’ Craft’ class. Writers Craft is an optional course for graduating high school students here in our Ontario system. It is not a particularly easy class and only kids who are really interested in writing sign up for it. I wish this course had existed when I went to school back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
“My” student had to bring a speaker to the class as part of her many assignments. I was it.
The school is in a very mixed area with lots of new immigrants and people from many cultures. There are pockets of wealthy homes in the neighborhood and also very poor areas. It was the first time I’d spoken at this particular school.
What an eye-opener! In this small class of about twenty students, I found people of every color and many nationalities represented. There were boys as well as girls. I loved the energy of the group and the humor. They laughed at my jokes and made their own. They asked great questions.
Everyone in the class participated in the writing exercise that I played with them to illustrate building character. The most enthusiasm and some of the best ideas came from three young woman all named Zeinab, two of whom wore head-scarves.
As I slipped away after my presentation, I glanced back to see a group of incredibly engaged, cooperative kids discussing their projects, arms waving and eyes lit up.
I came away happy, with this great example of young people (regardless of what we’re told!) still valuing the written word and with a desire to use it. They are all readers as well as writers. It was the most fun I'd had in a long time!
I wish I had been able to take photos, but there were privacy considerations.
So please, close your eyes and imagine what they looked like.
And tell me, what's your experience? Do the children and young people you see value books? Reading and writing?