National Writing Project

Getting It in Writing: Quests to Become Outstanding and Effective Writing Teachers

Date: April 25, 2012

Summary: In this foreword to Deborah M. Stankevich's Getting It in Writing: Quests to Become Outstanding and Effective Writing Teachers, Northwest Arkansas Writing Project Director Christian Z. Goering discusses his early experiences with the Writing Project and how it shaped him as a teacher.

 

Excerpt from Foreword

. . . when Dr. Todd Goodson invited me to apply to his first [Invitational Summer Institute] at the Flint Hills Writing Project. It was there, in the sub-zero temperatures of Bluemont Hall, I found a home with the National Writing Project. It was there that just about every practice in my own teaching of writing was challenged. It was there I realized that to become a writing teacher, I needed to first become a writer. I was not alone.

I remember well that group of NWP fellows, writing teachers from around the rural northeast and north central parts of Kansas. . . . The range of backgrounds in the classroom helped make the experience for me. The experience made the experience too. Existing as writers and teachers of writing, we grew and developed and learned in ways only possible when a group coexists for an extended period of time together—four full days per week for five weeks. Lieberman (2005) referred to the National Writing Project as a "supportive professional community," and I had found mine.

I returned to my classroom that August with quite honestly a different idea of what it meant to be a teacher, let alone different ideas about how I would teach writing. More than any one tangible activity or approach in the classroom (there were several), I began to identify as a writer in my own professional and personal lives and began sharing my newfound identity with my students. Whether it was that first article that was published or the experience of a rejection letter, I was different because of the National Writing Project, and my students were too. And just as I had been accepted into and flourished in a supportive community, I invited my students into a new one in room 169.

Copyright © 2011. Information Age Publishing, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Goering, Christian Z. "Foreword." Getting It in Writing: Quests to Become Outstanding and Effective Writing Teachers. Ed. Deborah M. Stankevich. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc., 2011.


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