Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Start of term

Welcome to Creative Writing class! Tutor _________ (your name).

It's always good to settle the first-day nerviness of your students by letting them know they are in the right classroom for the right class. Settles your nerves, too!

Besides writing a welcome note on the board I provide some busywork to fill up that awkward silence as you wait... and wait... for the stragglers to arrive. Soon you'll all know each other well, but meanwhile, I give out index cards to collect my own set of name-address-email and, much more interesting, a questionnaire.

More than mere busywork, a questionnaire starts the writers thinking about their individual pathways AND gives me information on how to tailor the course to this particular batch of writers. Bonus: I feed a summary back to the students (next class) so they know who they are, too. So here are some of the questions I put on an A4 handout questionnaire:

1. In order of priority, list the kinds of writing you prefer to do and would like to work on this year (for example: short story, novel, poetry, drama, memoire, feature articles etc). If you have equal priorities, adjust the list!

2. How long have you been writing, and how do you feel about your progress? Or, if you are brand new to creative writing, what prompts you to join the class?

3. Describe some of your writing needs and goals. How can this course help you?

4. Do you want to submit work for publication? Do you know where to submit?

5. List 2-3 favourite books or films you like.

Answers next week.
P.S. There still will be late-late arrivals to make the first session a bit bumpy.

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