I love to write. I love to teach. I love to teach writing. So, today, by the graciousness of my school and some very generous parents, I had the chance to spend the day with a master of teaching writing. Barry Lane, if you've never heard of him, is a genius. Not overstating...promise. I've been a fan of his for years--a fan, and a follower. His techniques are my techniques. Student-centered, fueled by tapping into the natural imagination and talent of children. Trusting their intellect. Reveling in it, actually.
And, as I shared with Barry Lane this afternoon (so grateful to have a chance to tell him face-to-face)--I use all of his techniques in my own writing. I revise my manuscripts the way he presents the process of revision. I teaching in my writers group using his vocabulary--thought-shots, snap-shots.
It struck me this afternoon how absolutely ideal my teaching position is. There are trade-offs to teaching in a private Christian school rather than a public school. Tens of thousands of trade-offs, to be exact. But today I learned the biggest advantage isn't the small class size or the supportive environment--though both are precious. No---it's the fact that I get to teach and create, that my students get to learn and create without the looming shadow of state-mandated tests. My students don't write in the shadow of a lined box waiting for five bland paragraphs. Their minds and hearts are God's creation--limitless in scope.