Carol Dweck, "Developing a Growth Mindset". The Courage of the Bookmobile Lady « Yinishye. I was in the first grade when the librarian of the bookmobile secretly started slipping me the books of Ernest Hemingway.
As a stupid child, I was supposed to be reading Dick and Jane, but this particular librarian knew I had graduated fast from that sophomoric reading level because she had arrived with her elephantine and lumbering bookmobile the previous summer at the migrant camp where I was living with my father and my brother. We were migrant workers. We weren’t supposed to know things either. That summer I was her only customer at the migrant camp and we spend hours together discussing books and what we liked to read. I had no idea then that I was stupid and was supposed to be reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears when, in fact, I was pouring over every word in “As I Lay Dying” by Faulkner as the whole notion of racism was one that compelled me to know more and more. I believe a book can change your life. But the damage had been done.
The Opportunity To Fail « Kathleen. I believe in showing respect to my students.
Heck, every teacher says that. There are big differences of opinion, though, on what constitutes respect. I believe it is showing respect to my students to expect their best efforts and their best work. I believe I owe my students the opportunity to fail. At a community college, everyone gets an equal chance. The differences begin to emerge quickly in a composition class. But as the semester progresses, the differences in preparation become less important than the differences in behavior. I think of the student who submitted a paper electronically from her 12-year-old son’s hospital room as he recovered from brain surgery.
“No insurance?” “No ma’am,” he said, with no trace of self-pity. But he was there. If they are unwilling to give this work their time and attention, if they are unwilling to persist in the face of uncertainty or obstacles, then it is not respectful to extend deadlines or accept inadequate work. The Power of Words « Linda. I believe in the power of words.
As the first in my family to attend college, I have always been impressed by brilliant speech writers, Pulitzer Prize poets, and renowned authors and their ability to stretch one’s imagination with the perfect collection and placement of words. The precise words strung together in just the right way have the power to persuade, energize, and inspire. Yet words can also have a disparaging affect and poorly chosen can be demeaning, discouraging, and hurtful. I have often pondered on the importance of words on my life. From my father I learned that words could instill confidence. Though he lacked a formal education, my “street smart” father achieved success as a principled businessman. Words had another striking impact on me early in my career.
When I apprehensively shared this story with my father, the man with the eighth grade education, he simply asked, “Do you mean, this learned man with all his education had no better way to express himself?” Everyone Has Talent « Natasha Sajé. Audio Player In my first college poetry class we were supposed to write in meter based on model poems by Yeats and Pound.
My efforts frustrated both me and the professor. I recall one poem about the whooshing sounds of cars in rain. After the last session, I picked up my work at the professor’s office and asked, my knees shaking, “Do I have any talent?” He was a kind person. “Thank you,” I said, and walked back to my dorm. The defiant part led me to another poetry workshop the following year. I believe that every human being is born with talent for making art: visual, literary, kinesthetic, or musical.
But no one—not even the writer—can predict if or when talent might bloom into art that others recognize as good. Artists must have enough ego to make art and enough humility to improve it. My aunt said, “Why write if you’re not getting published?” I’ve been teaching creative writing for more than 30 years now. Copyright © 2005-2016 This I Believe, Inc., all rights reserved.