For the fourth summer in a row, I'm co-teaching the four-week writing workshop that forms the core of the Ohio Writing Project. This is the second summer I've return from Detroit to southwestern Ohio and Miami University in order to continue my involvement with OWP. Why do it? Working with the writing project is like no other teaching experience. A room full of enthusiastic language arts and writing teachers, all teaching one another. Kindergarten, all the way up to 12th grade, all points in between. The entire day is interactive: teaching presentations and demos, visiting writers, extended writing periods, open mic lunches. I always walk away with ideas.
I always walk away feeling more like a writer then I have in months. Despite the intense contact time (five days a week, six-and-a-half hours a day), I always find lots of my own writing time, too. Last year, I drafted a short story, a whole article that found its way into Teaching English in the Two-Year College last month, a half dozen decent poems, and several writing assignments. This year, I'm working on an IRB proposal for the civic engagement research I'll be conducting this coming academic year and another short story--plus, reading a bunch of work (Jeff Grabill's book, Paula Matthieu's book, various Campus Compact documents, some great articles by Nedra Reynolds) that I'll draw on in the new research project.
Worth spending four weeks away from the motor city? You bet.