For two years (academic years: 2010/2011 and 2011/2012) I was the New Shoots Coordinator. Teaching young people to write and appreciate poetry and non-fiction was a wonerful experience. It taught me a lot about what it means to teach and demonstrate creative thought. For a description of my work, here’s an excerpt from the New Shoots website:
For 27 years UBC’s Creative Writing Program and the Vancouver School Board VSB have been friends and partners in growing the New Shoots program have been friends and partners in the New Shoots program. MFA students become New Shoots Mentors and teach creative writing to VSB secondary school students in classrooms and after school creative writing clubs.
New Shoots holds a public reading at the end of every year. Students, New Shoots Mentors, teachers and parents are invited to see and hear the work the students produced—plays, short stories, non-fiction pieces, poems, memoirs etc.
Further about my role as New Shoots coordinator:
The New Shoots Coordinator takes on the directing role within the program. New Shoots Mentors have varying degrees of experience – some are seasoned, while, for others, New Shoots may be their first teaching experience. The coordinator works to accommodate this spectrum of experience by:
>> Accompanying less experienced New Shoots Mentors to their first classes and providing supportive and constructive feedback on their teaching. The coordinator may pair an experienced New Shoots Mentor with a less experienced teacher for peer mentoring.
>> Matching New Shoots Mentors with VSB teachers that are able to devote time to their needs as student-teachers.
>> Providing lesson planning materials and sample outlines.
>> Coordinating workshops for New Shoots Mentors to learn about student-centred teaching, facilitating creative writing workshops, giving constructive feedback etc.