I’m part of an amazing group of writers. I’m lucky. They’re not only imaginative, but really good at getting their thoughts on paper. They’re fun to talk to and intelligent. They feel things deeply and express themselves well. The kicker? They’re all teenagers.
May 2020 brought about huge changes for all of us. I’m a teacher, as I’ve mentioned before, and we’d gone to virtual learning. With the end of the semester, and a lockdown, my own son was looking at a summer full of boredom. His friends felt the same way. I offered to teach two classes. The first was an improv class and the second a writing class. I put it out to the school where I teach and to my son’s writing group thinking that few teenagers would willingly choose to take additional (non-credit) classes over summer break. I was surprised when I wound up with a group that varies between 8 and 15 kids per week. It’s now been 10 months since our first class (almost to the day, in fact) and I’ve still got my core group.
They constantly surprise me. We’ve moved from a class where I teach them the basics of writing, editing, and publishing, to a critique circle. They’re better with constructive criticism than any adult group of which I have been a part. They are interested in learning and improving and they’re willing to give feedback in a way that is kind, but honest. Better yet, they listen when other members of the group make suggestions. Watching them improve has been astounding. The leaps and bounds in style and talent has impressed me over the past year.
Last session, instead of assigning them their project, we discussed options and they designed the project. In honor of Valentine’s Day, they decided we should each do a ‘fluff’ piece. We’re working on flash-fiction right now, so we capped the word limit at 750 words. These kids generally don’t do ‘fluff’. In fact, I have several budding horror authors and some incredible drama writers. But feel-good stuff? I wasn’t so sure they’d pull it off. Boy, was I wrong! They amazed me. They wrote pieces that made me smile. They wrote pieces that made me feel happy. They blew me away. Which is actually one of the reasons I decided to write this. That… and they kind of suggested I do. (Haha) They discovered I have a blog today in class and proceeded to blow up my site visits. It was entertaining, to say the least. But that’s just another example of why this group of people makes me so happy and why I needed to share with all of you how wonderful they are.
This is the next generation, not the social media portrayal of GenZ. This wonderful, amazing, brilliant, thoughtful group of teenagers will one day be running the world. And, ya know? I’m looking forward to that day. I think they’ll do a bang up job.
I can’t wait to see what they do next…
PS – Our next assignment? 750-1000 words of angst 😉 This one should also be entertaining.