One of the great joys of my life has been teaching. For twenty-five years I had the privilege and responsibility to introduce a world of reading and writing, ideas and words, discussing, reflecting, learning, learning, learning. My students were adolescents, teenagers. As writers, we know that writing is very personal, a way to reach out to others, to explore new and different ways of thinking, to experience beauty and ugliness, reality and imagination….the intertwining of these within our own personal worlds. How do we know what we know, what we are learning? By personal writing, of course, at any age. But also in many cases as young people move to adulthood in school, they learn by reading, reflecting, writing. As an English teacher, early on, I knew that I needed to know what students were thinking and feeling. I had them write a lot. Personal, not just factual, responses to writers, as well as personal creative writing. At those times, these adolescents became writers themselves. I really believe that being a writer myself helped me teach and mentor their writing. Many good and powerful writers are never published, but through their interaction with students, many teacher-writers foster the creative writing we love personally. I loved watching my students write. I loved watching some of them even fall in love with writing. I’ve written poetry about these things because working with my students gave so much meaning and dimension to my life. I had to capture that in my personal writing, for myself. Retired now, I actually find these to be some of favorite poems. Today I thought I might share some of that passion with you through my poem Listen in my next post. As readers, listeners, and writers, here in our own community of writers.