Kayla likes to sit near the front of the room, where all the light falls on her. She stays out of the corners. Her closest friends in Writing Club are Ty’Shea and Steve, both sixth graders like her, but she’s just as comfortable playing tag with the eighth grade boys or talking about the presidential election with the adults. She’s quiet but not shy. Her poems are ferocious in their imagination and painstakingly careful in their form. When you speak, she listens with such solemn concentration that it makes you slow down and reflect more carefully on what you’re saying.
Last week Kayla got up to read her poem, but one boy was being so smart-alecky that she eventually put down her paper and walked out of the room, visibly upset. The whole class was outraged. Two older students jumped up to make the boy apologize. We told him to take the rest of the day off. When Kayla returned to the room and walked back to the front, the applause was deafening.
Here’s Kayla in her own words, telling us about her experience in the Workshop:
How did you find out about Writing Club?
I found out about Writing Club because of Ms. Nancy. Every time I went to Busboys and Poets, Ms. Nancy would say, “I hope to see you next year.”
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is Matilda because I like what it is about and I can relate to Matilda in a way.
What do sixth graders know that other people don’t?
Sixth graders know the ages of two of the teachers, and the feeling of silent lunch. [Note: Can I just say, she went super literal here, and I’m impressed 🙂 The silent lunch thing refers to the fact that a couple sixth graders were being disruptive at some point in the past, and in punishment the entire sixth grade is now required to have lunch without talking. Ironically it’s the sixth graders who least deserve the punishment, like Kayla, who are most likely to obey the terms.]
What is something you want to have done by the end of sixth grade?
Something that I want to do by the end of sixth grade is memorize everything I’ve learned. I also want to make the Honor Roll.
If you could change one thing about Writing Club, what would it be?
One thing I would change about Writing Club is chicken wings for snacks. That’s all. I would also change the color of the classroom because the color needs to be bright like the sun, so I can remember that my future depends on Writing Club.