What can you learn from your students? What can you accomplish as a teacher? Read this Top Ten list from long-time StoryStudio instructor Annette Gendler. Annette leads our Advanced Memoir Workshop and has been on the StoryStudio faculty since 2006.
- Check Craigslist once in a while, you might just find your dream job (I did, a.k.a. “Creative Nonfiction Instructor” at StoryStudio).
- Start thinking big when the director tells you about all the talented and creative people who might end up in your writing class.
- Make it the rule that the students who get workshopped bring food and wine—it makes for an amiable atmosphere and nobody, including yours truly, is starving, plus all the other classes at StoryStudio will eventually pick up on this genius idea and think it’s theirs.
- Make offhand remarks about writing conferences your students might want to attend—in two instances, at least, it changed lives (one found his tribe and a second career, another found a new husband).
- Have your students suggest and decide what books to read, that way it’s a team effort and no can claim they weren’t asked, plus you end up with a nice variety of texts.
- Remember to do a writing exercise in class—students surprise themselves and a few published essays have resulted.
- Nudge students to rewrite; even if it takes years of persistence, it will pay off.
- Never take it personally when a student leaves your workshop; they may return, or they may amplify your circle elsewhere.
- Create for your students what you were looking for yourself when you were studying creative writing—it will hit fertile ground.
- No matter how harried your day, the minute you step over the threshold of StoryStudio, a sense of calm and purpose will descend.
Annette Gendler is the author of the memoir Jumping Over Shadows, forthcoming from She Writes Press. She has taught memoir workshops at StoryStudio since 2006, and her StoryStudio Advanced Memoir Workshop has been running, without break, since 2008.