“I am an exclamation point in this room, filled with excitement about the work you are about to do!”
And so began Writing Workshop with Professor Nancy Sommers. This short, 6-week long module (for those of you who don’t yet speak “HGSE,” that’s a half-semester course) was unexpectedly one of the most transformative of my experiences so far at the Ed School. I took the class with the goal of helping my students become better writers; I never expected that I, too, would develop my writing and my passion for the art of essays. Nancy — whom I started the class knowing only as Professor Sommers, eminent scholar in the world of writing instruction and an award-winning essayist herself — has become a much-cherished mentor and imbued every moment of class with her sense of the honor, the privilege, the excitement of being a writer, and I couldn’t help but catch her bug.
No one has ever motivated me to write quite like Nancy did, and I leave this short course with a long list of techniques and exercises to share with my students. But, most importantly, I leave with the profound delight that comes from owning the mantle of “writer”; it’s a delight I hope will be as contagious in my future classrooms as it was in Nancy’s.
Sarah Stuntz is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Instructional Leadership strand of the Learning and Teaching program. As a former English teacher who plans to return to the classroom, Sarah loves learning about how literature and writing connect with adolescent development and social justice.