Leyanna Savann contributes this #blog4nwp post about her NWP-trained teacher, Mary Cushman.
Writing hasn’t always been a strong suit of mine. The thought of having to research, write, cite and turn in a paper with it actually making sense absolutely terrified me. It just wasn’t something I was good at, and I refused to write. I hated how back in a regular high school teachers usually just gave you a prompt and a due date and basically told you to figure it out. I probably turned in one essay throughout my whole regular high school experience. I dreaded writing and I always felt like I had nothing to write about.
That is until I came to Sartori, and I was placed in Mary Cushman’s class. Mary loves writing! On my first day meeting with her she made her love for writing very clear. I expressed how I felt, that I wasn’t good at it and I just didn’t know what to write about. Her response to me was that everyone’s a writer and you can write about anything! Immediately, she placed me in her SRS class where she gave everyone notebooks and at the beginning of class each day we would “spill it” or in other words write about whatever we wanted. I believe it was a way for us to get our brains working so that we would be ready for the day’s lesson.
As time passed in Mary’s class, I began writing lots of stories and poems based on my life, and I started sharing them with her. I love how Mary doesn’t criticize anything that I write about and she would show me ways of how to make my stories better without making them into her own creations. She has taught me many different ways to write as well as challenges me to use vocabulary I wouldn’t usually use in my work. Some of my best works have even been published in Sartori’s “Spill It” magazines and it’s a good feeling seeing my work published along with others, it gives me a feeling of finally being a writer.
Skills that I have gained being in Mary’s writing class are research and citing techniques, ways of brainstorming, leadership skills (when I would have to present and teach the class) as well as overall being a more confident writer. Mary has done a very great job at doing her job. Since I’ve left her class it hasn’t stopped me from writing every day. I have my own spill book at home which I use to write about my days and feelings. It’s helped me express myself and in ways find who I am as a person. Writing is amazing and the experience I’ve got from being in Mary’s class I will carry on with me to every aspect of life that I possibly can. It will only make me more skilled and more confident at the everyday things that I do.