Open Mic Blog
|Posted on April 6, 2011 at 10:19 PM|
I'm thrilled to introduce my very first guest blogger Paul Oh. He is a Senior Program Associate for the National Writing Project. Not only is he a wonderful writer himself, Paul's also an advocate for teachers teaching teachers and an integral part of the quiet revolution that has inspired countless teachers across the country since 1974, kindergarten through college, to write and effectively teach writing in their classrooms.
In celebration of National Poetry Month and to stir up some support for continued funding of the NWP, Paul will be taking your questions and comments for the next two days. Please make him welcome!!!
Last year, the staff where I work decided to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day (which this year will be held next week, April 14th, as part of National Poetry Month). The 15 or so of us who participated took turns standing at the top of a small flight of steps, which had a commanding view of the office, and each read our poems.
Some were about love. Some were funny. All were beautiful.
I chose "Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100." Or maybe I meant to. I can’t remember now. I only recall that afterward we shared cupcakes and talked about our poems and enjoyed the experience of reading aloud to one another, of sharing words and their beauty.
Of course this makes complete sense, given that I’m employed by an organization called The National Writing Project. For those of you not familiar with the work of NWP, as so many call it, we are a long-standing education reform non-profit that focuses on the teaching and learning of writing. We are also a network of teachers and of local sites – more than 200 – located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Our ethos is often succinctly described as “Teachers Teaching Teachers.” Because we believe that teachers, together, through reflection, collaboration, reading and writing, build knowledge that helps us become better educators and our children better learners.
Like the Poem in Your Pocket gathering in my office last year, at writing project sites around the country, teachers periodically gather to share practice, share food, write, and sometimes read aloud.
In my former life as a teacher – I taught various grades and in a computer lab at the elementary level, both in Massachusetts and New York – I was a member of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. Now, as a staff member at NWP, I live in Oakland, California, miles from our Berkeley office, just across the Bay from San Francisco. In fact, as I stood at the top of those steps reading my poem that day a year ago, I could’ve turned and seen out the window the Golden Gate Bridge.
We have a wealth of teacher resources at the NWP website. But especially relevant right now is this collection pertaining to National Poetry Month. Please check it out. And enjoy your own poems in your own pockets.
* Which poem will you carry in your pocket on April 14? How has NWP impacted and transformed your life?
* Please come and share your thoughts, opinions, and testimonials. Writing is essential.
~ Paul Oh is a Senior Program Associate with the National Writing Project, an educational non-profit dedicated to the improvement of writing in our nation’s classrooms. You can often find Paul at http://twitter.com and you can always find his writing at http://dcomposing.com