MY FIRST TIME TEACHING (me!) sandra, ttgp
can't remember exactly what possessed me, but i do remember wonderin' if anyone at all would sign up for my class. i'd taken notes -mental notes- over the years: what i found valuable, what i thought a waste of time, and what was missing in these various creative writing workshops i attended
now i remember! i had seen an advertisement for another workshop. made me sick. -time to teach my own then.
i just knew i had what it takes to light the fire in people's bellies. oh! -but the thought of public speaking
why on earth, hating it the way i do, would i volunteer to do it? -somebody help me!
"you are a toastmaster graduate... winner of countless speaking awards..."
and i have some memory of making the call. three times before i actually spoke.
"did anyone sign up?"
and practically cried of happiness when i learned 6 people had signed up. six!
went to work right away on my plans for an 8 week course; so excited.
and nervous. terribly, awfully, painfully nervous.
by the night of the first class i stood before 12 people, if memory serves me correctly
and here's the thing:
my memory does not always serve me correctly.
ten years plus of post traumatic stress disorder. ten years of varying degrees of fright and flight chemicals racing through my brain. and when my stress is elevated...
i can drop out what i ate for breakfast by lunchtime.
so there i stood, voice a quiverin'... answering the question, what will i get from taking this class?
"i'll... have.. you.. writ-ting- bet-t-ter.. than you've ev-v-ver writt -ten beef- for" i braved.
and now, there you have it. -my memory didn't serve me correctly. i just pulled a picture from the archives, and i had 9 students, not 12.
my older brother, and younger sister among them. and i remember looking to their faces for comfort. when i did, and saw reflected back to me those keep going smiles
i kept going.
boy was i proud when i returned home from that first class. i survived! they had a good time i could tell... this is all going to work out just fine...
and everyone was on time, excited, it seemed to me, for the next class.
and by the third week, i had secured a guest appearance from one of my all time favorite columnists: ray orrock. -so funny -so motivating -tips from a real live, highly successful and most importantly -regularly published- fellow writer. i had profiled him in college
one of the greatest pieces i'd written i thought. funny, delightful; just like him.
my instructor called it a stupid valentine. hacked it, left and right. i was not allowed to like people the way i did; write so complimentary. no! no! no!
the profile published in the paper -maybe- has two sentences from my original version; and no heart. i wanted to die. die at the thought of what ray might think. and no real way to explain the whole thing to him...
but he must have forgiven me, because he volunteered to speak to my class. and i thanked him with a dinner at girasole. (and that's how i earned that inscribed term of endearment from him: sandra "skoozy" kay... that bread!)
and by the next week, students were reporting back to me that they could already feel their writing improving. i was helpful! my feedback mattered!
and i knew, one of the most confidence building things i could do for my students was to publish their work. and so i had it in my mind that i would create an anthology; kinko's style!