We’re all guilty of avoiding the things we don’t feel we’re good at. That was my relationship with writing. But in the third trimester of my senior year, there was something that I desperately needed to avoid more: the all-male strength and conditioning class. Somehow I ended up the only girl assigned to the class. While I love weight lifting I simply couldn’t see myself in that class.
My scheduling councilor’s solution was to have me switch to a creative writing class with the esteemed Ms. Hascall. I say esteemed because almost everyone had had this teacher except for me and they all adored her.
I quickly learned why. Her class was strongly participation-based, and the activities she would have us do created the desire to participate. She put an emphasis on simply creating and we often got to choose our own projects. We would do class activities such as hold contests to see who could write the most creative caption for a photo and she encouraged healthy debates.
She was cultivating in her critiques and she didn’t follow stereotypical grading methods. Focusing on the flow more than the “rules of writing” that every other teacher of mine seemed so dependant on. I felt comfortable asking her for advice on my writing in a way that I never had with any teachers prior. Ms. Hascall helped build my confidence in my writing and that made me want to keep doing it even outside the classroom.
I now realize that she was also helping us overcome our fear of shipping our writing. She created Tiger Tales: an annual writing contest that would publish student’s pieces and showcase their work.
I think there would be more kids coming away from public school with a higher drive to create if more teachers out there were like Ms. Hascall; with an emphasis on creation over the status quo of government education.