Pat Martinez teaches at Karl Maeser Preparatory Academy and believes that writing is one of the keys to self-discovery. Pat loves teaching almost as much as she loves the ocean. Below she shares her appreciation for what CUWP has done for her, her writing, and her career.
Participation in the Central Utah Writing Project is so much more than three weeks of writing, learning and teaching – it’s about connections too.
Each January, my school takes a break from regular studies to participate in Winterim. Classes for winterim are as varied as students. Over the years, I have taken a group of students to the Galapagos Islands, studied literature from the Holocaust, held a competitive writing seminar and this year, fellow teacher Debbie Frampton and I (who both participated in CUWP 2013), taught a JanoWriMo seminar patterned after the National Novel Writing project that occurs each November.
During our CUWP ’13 June classes, we learned that fellow CUWP participant Daniel Potter’s students had been writing a novel in November for the past two years. We invited Daniel to be our kick-off speaker and he joyfully accepted our invitation. Not only did he give us valuable information, he made us laugh, and he infused our students with hope that they could actually write 50,000 words in three weeks.
Our students expressed an interest in publishing. Award winning author, Dr. Chris Crowe, also accepted our invitation to address the students. He shared his publishing history and we were thrilled to be the first high school class to learn about his forthcoming novel, written in haiku, Death Coming Up the Hill (to be released in September 2014).
He also wrote a zombie haiku just for our class.
I met fellow writer Linda Bethers, at a Walk & Write in October of 2013.
When she told me her book Christmas Oranges had sold 250,000 copies, I had to invite her to JanoWriMo too. During her presentation, we all laughed and cried as she told us the miracles of her book. Students again, we’re given a special treat: Linda read her latest story—we were the first class ever to hear a touching tale of American history.
When I finished CUWP summer institute 2013, I was especially inspired to create a venue to showcase student writing. Students write better when they have an audience-a real audience besides teachers and peers. I had previously approached the Provo Daily Herald with the idea for a new column In the Classroom. The editor had liked the idea but I couldn’t get
an absolute commitment. Three weeks with fellow writing teachers gave me the confidence to push the column. It worked! The first piece was published online in the fall of 2013. Again, my connections to fellow teachers helped my writing goals. Daniel Potter’s creative writing student Krista Fletcher, was a much-needed first student from another school whose work was published.
Writing is often considered a lonely hobby, interest or profession. Participation in the Central Utah Writing project broadened not only my writing craft, abilities and experiences but my connections to other teachers who have a passion for writing and for teaching writing. When I think about writing, it is not about a solitary endeavor, hunched over my computer for hours. Writing includes the connection I have to other writers-and especially the writers from CUWP.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Central Utah Writing Project, we invite you to apply for our next summer institute.