In September of 2010 I began an internship in the Readings/Workshops department of Poets & Writers, Inc. My duties included filing grant applications and reports, attending literary readings sponsored by P&W, composing summaries about the readings, and conducting outreach to writers and literary organizations that might benefit from our grants. It was an all around amazing experience and I loved the idea that writers deserve to get paid for giving readings and teaching workshops. That platform caused me to volunteer with the organization for several events that followed; after all, soon enough I would be a published and working writer as well.
Two years later, P&W invited me to apply for their first fellowship on the east coast. I would be doing a lot of the same duties I did previously, but I would also be part of the team that approved and denied grant requests and determined award amount. I was super excited, but also pleased to know part of the fellowship would include opportunities to have meetings with a dream list of people. Naturally, once I received the position, creating my list was one of the first things I did. A few months into my fellowship, the Director of the department asked if I was familiar with Community-Word Project- I wasn’t. She quickly scheduled a meeting for me to sit down with CWP’s founder Michele Kotler, who was thrilled to learn I dreamed of opening a children’s center for the arts. She gave me a lot of great advice about how to start a non-profit organization, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized I needed help with the Teaching Artist part too. Thankfully, I had also kept abreast of CWP events. I showed up to a Teaching Artist forum held at NYU, bumped into Michele, who actually remembered me, and decided there and then I would be a TATIP trainee.
I suppose what I most hoped to gain from the program was how to teach writing to young kids, and how to develop kid-friendly lesson plans. I have a lot of experience teaching creative writing to teens and college kids, but the idea of working with the really small children on something so important and dear was scary. Despite that, I knew it was important to start that love of writing early- and I hoped that the TATIP program would help me feel comfortable and confident doing it. It has. I now realize that writing, like other art forms, can be just as amazing when done by little people as by people with letters behind their name and multiple book deals. I created two lessons that I am extremely proud of, one of which I taught to the class I was interning in as well as to my two nieces. In addition to that, I’ve become so much more comfortable working with poetry. While I can never love it the way that I love fiction, I see why it is often the go-to mode of creative writing for Teaching Artists, and I’m still awed that that title now includes me.
Being a part of TATIP was filled with incredible moments of learning and discovery. It reminded me what it feels like to be a student and enforced the importance of a teacher’s role in a student’s life. The program not only gave me the tools to be an efficient and effective teacher, but also expanded my artistry. I learned that I have a voice. My voice is powerful. My voice can change the world… and now I am sure that it will.
Interested in TATIP? Find out more about our 2015-16 Program!
See more of our 2014-15 Graduates in the 2015 TATIP Anthology!