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'Are you a writer?' is one of the first things I ask all my students, in the hope that by the time my Creative Writing course ends, they would be answering that question with a vehement 'Yes!'
Some time ago, I began teaching Creative Writing as a course at a college. All I started out wanting to do was share my love for reading and writing. I had discovered writing and had gone through an entire journey of learning, rejections, heart breaks, and even hurtful criticism, but had also grown along the journey, and found my voice.
This year, the theme for World Teachers’ Day is “transformation of education begins with teachers”.
I hadn’t set out to change lives. I had only wanted to encourage people to read and write, and use it as a medium to give themselves the same solace and joy that I had experienced for myself.
Every time I begin a new batch of creative writing, I am left filled with gratitude for what I do. It reminds me of why I began writing in the first place. It reminds me why I began teaching creative writing to those like me who didn’t have a background in Literature but loved books, reading, and the magic of words.
Many of the students, however, are not previously readers.
For them, writing as a form of self-expression is something they get to explore for the very first time when they join my course.
I feel blessed to be a witness of their growth as they walk the path of discovering the writer within them – right from the initial hesitation and then the tentative baby steps, and then watching them as their face lights up on getting that first compliment from a batchmate, or as they begin to accept that they can do this, they can write.
‘Are you a writer?’ is one of the first things I ask all my students, in the hope that by the time the course ends, they would be answering that question with a vehement ‘Yes!’
On some days, the answer comes much earlier, when a student discovers the impact her writing has on another person, or that she can write to a picture clicked by someone else.
On some other days, it comes as a revelation after watching a movie like The Freedom Writers when one of the students exclaims, ‘Ma’am, our room number is 203 too!’ (203 is the classroom number of a group of students whose lives are changed thanks to their empathetic and determined teacher, Erin Gruwell.)
Other days, it is more gradual, when they themselves feel healed from writing about a challenging experience.
On yet other days, it comes while when writing their final assessment at the end of the course, upon getting a difficult prompt, they simply nod their heads and say, ‘Cool!’ and continue writing without as much as a peep in protest.
It comes in the form of smiles that light up their face as they enter a bookstore for the first time.
It comes in the form of excited chatter as they exit the store, their arms laden with books they can’t wait to dive into. Our visit to the bookstore was such an enriching and wholesome experience. Thank you to the owners for hosting us!
I may have become a writer for entirely different reasons, but this is why I became a teacher. And why I never want to stop doing this.
Images source: Piyusha Vir
Piyusha Vir is a writer, artist, a CELTA-certified English Language trainer, and a Creative Writing Coach.
She was awarded the Top 5 position in the Orange Flower Awards 2018 for the category of Writing read more...
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