Flying Chalk, Emily Dickinson, and a Mug of Tea
Updated: Feb 1, 2021
Enthusiasm: intense or eager enjoyment and interest, approval.
I get excited about creative writing. Classes can be fun. Students can produce great work, and I can learn as a teacher as well. Enthusiasm for any subject, including creative writing, can wax and wane. It’s quite probable enthusiasm is largely affected by our emotions of the day. However, if we tap into the enthusiasm we have, it will fuel the fire we need to make the best experience for our students in creative writing class.
Can one drum up enthusiasm for something if they don’t instinctively have it? I think enthusiasm can be learned, but I feel the best enthusiasm is just “there”, ready to be used at a moment’s notice.
Why does enthusiasm for creative writing matter? Your enthusiasm for stories, poems, phrases, and words, will in turn interest the students, helping them develop a skill of curiosity. Enthusiasm feeds the giver and receiver. It’s the breath of life to composition, just like enthusiasm can be the fire to a history class.
There are the English teachers. There are the literature teachers. And then there are creative writing teachers, which are a mixture of the two. Some teachers are better at teaching the mechanics of writing. Some are better at teaching the creative process. Not all teachers are excited about words and poetry and creative work. But often, teachers feel creative writing is important in the development and education of a student. Your goal as a teacher should be to engage, immerse, and project the student into words for whichever reason you are most enthused about! If you get excited about the mechanics of writing, teach that well! If you get excited about the creative process, then teach that. The bottom line is that personal enthusiasm is the best teaching tool in teaching any class.
I asked myself the following questions as I explored my personal ideas about enthusiasm. Read along and answer the questions for yourself.
1. Why is enthusiasm important in a creative writing class?
It brings engagement with the material we are learning, connection as a class team, and excitement for details. Enthusiasm grabs everyone’s attention. It rivets our focus on good, lovely, beautiful, and interesting things. Our emotions identify with the topic, subject, or experience.
2. What does enthusiasm look like to you?
Happy, thoughtful, prepared teachers. Happy, eager, focused students. Objects lined up on the table. Pictures drawn on a board. Poems and songs read well. Laughter. Storytelling. Dramatic pauses. Good questions. Chalk flying on the board. Timers going. Just a whole lot of fun and joy and hard work.
3. How do you stay inspired about creative writing class?
Nature always inspires me. Mary Oliver & Emily Dickinson Poetry. A good cup of tea while studying definitely helps. I remind myself that excellence, not mediocracy, in written pieces matters. Using everyday stories and happenings in class and jotting down phrases, words, book titles, experiences, and sayings to bring to class inspires me. Students get attached to the personality of the teacher, so I freely use my likes and dislikes and my life stories to teach my classes. It normally interests the students.
4. What do you do when you feel stumped in preparing for a class and you have absolutely no enthusiasm for the class at hand?
Stop studying. Put the books away and go bake something, go for a walk, or clean up my house. I return to it after I have lit a candle, made some tea, and picked some flowers or photographed a winter scene. Then I ask myself, “What do I really WANT to teach right now?” If I digress from the lesson at hand and decide to hand out children’s books and do book reviews instead of the planned lesson, I do that. Teaching something enthusiastically is ALWAYS better then teaching methodically from a book, in my opinion.
For a jump starter, I highly encourage you to use our creative writing books that we offer here on our website. But I also encourage you to tweak each lesson so that you can teach with enthusiasm. Adapt it to meet your student’s needs. Teach the lessons that fire you up. Remember, enthusiasm, along with mastery of your subject, is one of the best teaching tools.
Let us know in the comments below what you do to stay enthused about creative writing. We want to know.