This morning, I worked with Sorel Friedman's education students at UQAM. Sorel's class has been reading my novel What World Is Left and I was excited to be able to discuss the book with future teachers. I told them how I believe it's important that we make students understand that writing is hard work, but that it can also bring tremendous satisfaction.
Sorel and her class have been talking a lot about the intersection between truth and fiction. I tried to explain that for me, writing fiction is actually a way to get at the truth. Later, a student named Gaetane asked, "What makes a memoir such as Anne Frank's diary 'literature?'" I have to admit her question made me pause (something I rarely do!!) -- I wondered out loud whether the answer had something to do with Anne Frank's use of language, but then I decided, too, that it had to do with her honesty and the power of her voice.
Anyway, I love days where students get me thinking ... and also feeling.
Which is what happened in Sorel's classroom today. Working with future teachers like this group makes me feel good about what's in store for our young people... and it also makes me feel a little better about aging. When it comes time for me to retire from teaching, I know there will be many talented and energetic teachers to keep doing the work I love so much.
Speaking of talent -- I also want to boast a little about my own Journalism students at Marianopolis. Today, two of them agreed to read their personal essays in class. A student named Cristina made some of us cry with the honesty of her piece, and then a student named Katherine made us laugh with her story about overdosing on filet mignon! Pretty amazing that the sheer power of words can cause a group of 35 or so of us to feel such a range of emotion. So here's to language and writing and teaching and learning. Today's the kind of day I feel really privileged to do the things I do! Hope you do too!
You know what, Chrystelle? A good class makes a teacher passionate! It's that magic chemistry that happens in classrooms that makes teaching such a great job. So I say thanks to you guys for being such a good class!