Awards & Recognition
- UCLA Teacher Consultant
- California State Teacher of the Year, 2005
- Disney Teacher Honoree, 2006
If you ask my students what they enjoy most about their classroom experience they would, no doubt, say caring for their silkworms, mealworms, and stick bugs, planting and watering their garden, acting out stories read in class, going on excursions, creating works of art, and writing about it all in their journals. What they write about and what they remember are the experiences that are real. The wonderful teaching and friendships that UCLA Writing Project teachers have provided over the years have become part of the DNA of my teaching life and hence the lives of my students. I owe what I teach and the way I teach to all of them.
As a new teacher fortunate enough to learn about Jane Hancock’s Writing Project workshops, I discovered that a piece of paper and a pencil accompanied by a real and meaningful audience was all that was needed to make students believe in themselves as writers. What came as a surprise to me was how, as a result of writing with my students, I came to believe in my own writing.
Meeting and collaborating with teachers continues to be a most humbling and gratifying experience, and I come away from workshops a better teacher, and a better person, for having shared a couple of hours as writers together.
That we care about writing, and it matters most, when it is real; that it takes practice, patience, and a boatload of courage to set some things to paper and that to do so we sometimes just need time and a word of encouragement; that writing in a supportive, thoughtful, and thought-provoking environment has the power to inspire and to transform.
Radical Reflections by Mem Fox because of its profound and enduring reminder of the relationships we forge through writing, teaching writing, and teaching itself; “to ache with caring.” Mem Fox: “If we as teachers ache with caring it will, perhaps, be possible for us to create classroom communities within school communities in which writing matters because it’s done for real reasons by real writers who ache with caring for a real response.