Notes from a Teacher at Camp

5

June 22, 2012 by WITS Editor

Here are notes from Elizabeth Winston, a teacher at Creative Writing Camp:

Five of the wild Spanish Mustangs in Corolla, ...

Five of the wild Spanish Mustangs in Corolla, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the first week in my 7th/8th grade Creative Writing Camp class, my teaching partner and I had the students work on writing short stories.  This week, we shifted the focus to poetry.  What’s interesting about having students try their hand at different kinds of writing is watching them each discover what kinds of writing they truly like to do – what inspires them, what they feel they’re good at.  Some of our students immediately got very involved in working on their short stories, and were anxious to get back to them when we moved to poetry.

One student, however, took us by surprise.  This particular boy– his name is Alex – told us on the first day that his dream is to be a fiction writer.  We assumed he’d be one of the ones that wanted to get back to his short story. What he brought to me today to type up for the classroom anthology, though, were two poems.  I asked him if he had written poetry before, and he shook his head no.

“I don’t know if I’m doing it right,” he told me.  “But I really like it.”  In his eyes was an excited light – he had been inspired by the poetry we’d read and discussed in class, and nodded eagerly when I offered to give him the titles of several books of poetry I thought he might enjoy.  Alex had discovered a new love, which will hopefully be a lifelong one.  For me, the kind of excitement I saw in him is the greatest reward of teaching writing.

We’re Built Like Horses

We are built like horses,

Strong, free and stubborn,

Our manes meant to feel the wind

But we were not born as such

We do not live with tenderness or freedom

Because we were born into bondage

Unto fingers cold to the touch

Every step is planned

Every stray is punished

In a land ruled by the likes of injustice

Where lies spread like fires to an open plain

Speech is not free

Every word has a price

And we are afraid to speak

For our words are their scripts

We are not us

But those that they want us to be

Shackled by the atrocities of their rule

Under an oath to be their servants

So, I say, they must be cast away

Replaced with those true in heart

Overrun by those with knowledge and goodness

So that they may be realized as the monsters they are

Whey we finally open our eyes

The people will be free

Our ignorance will fade

And the sun will shine again

We are built like horses,

Strong, free, and stubborn

Truly free at last, horses we can be

By Alex

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5 thoughts on “Notes from a Teacher at Camp

  1. Beverly Staten says:

    Ms. Winston, Thanks so much for the beautiful article and your recognition of our son’s talents. We are amazed too that he has taken an interest in poetry. This camp has been one of the best investments we have made for Alex. He actually doesn’t complain about getting up each morning. We look forward to reading the rest of his writings. Again, thanks for your time and inspiration.
    Bev Staten

  2. Marion Cardasis says:

    Alex has a unique talent which was awakened by his experience at Camp. What a wonderful experience. Best wishes to him and his teachers.

  3. Sylvia says:

    Great poem Alex! Keep up the great writing-

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Writers in the Schools (WITS)


Writers in the Schools (WITS) is the #1 arts education organization in Texas. With 80 writers and educators on staff, WITS reaches over 23,000 students a year in classrooms, community centers, museums, parks, and hospitals.

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