BR 012

I sat at a table in room B367 anxiously awaiting our students on our first day at Broad Ripple High School. Admittedly I was nervous, although I’ve had experience in the classroom. I just wanted them to like me. It’s funny, looking back now I think the students were feeling the same way I was.

As the students shuffled in, four sixth graders made their way to my table and sat down. I did my best to initiate small talk. I asked them what their interests were and how their day was. I was a bit awkward.

I was lucky to have a group of students eager to write. Really, I got lucky. I passed out blank pages and pens and within minutes the students were scribbling away. Three girls, who called themselves Triple Trouble, decided they were going to write a play, while a boy named Keenan started on a short story about dinosaurs and time travel. It felt good watching the students enjoy their time writing.

All four of my students shared their work at the Open Mic held at the end of the session. Keenan surprised me because until then he had been quiet and the play written by Triple Trouble received uproarious laughter—not bad for my first day.

My second day at Broad Ripple High School, Triple Trouble found me right away. This let me know that I was doing something right. I was making a connection with these girls and they really seemed to like me. They wrote another play and once again it was hilarious.

While my love for writing motivated me initially, the joy of getting to know the students kept me going. I wanted to know more about them. I wanted to be someone they could talk to. I learned a lot from them. They let me in to their world and allowed me to share in their jokes. At this time I realized what we were doing was much more than simply making up stories. We were fostering relationships and encouraging self-expression. We were making a real difference in these kids’ lives.

Writing in the Schools has become my favorite class this semester. It’s gotten me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow as a person as well as a mentor. Each time I see my students I feel a sense of pride and I know that they really are happy to be working with us. We inspire each other to be the best we can be while having fun in the process.

Kyler Moor is a graduate student in the MFA Creative Writing program.