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A couple weeks before spring break I did something I hadn’t ever done before – I brought an author and publisher into my classroom using Skype.  My students were starting to work on some memoir writing and, in a moment of inspiration, I thought to myself, “Why not Skype a publisher to hear his or her perspective on what makes a memoir good?”  So I Googled “publishing companies in Vancouver” and followed the breadcrumbs until I found myself at the Harbour Publishing website and speaking with Howard White, a renowned BC author and publisher.  Three phone calls later, he Skyped into my classroom and was talking to my students about what makes a memoir good and the process of writing in general.  He was brilliant, and my students were totally engaged.

The experience of having a professional writer in my classroom was in itself totally worth it, but there was another completely unexpected byproduct of this Skype conversation.

In university, I started writing a treeplanting memoir for one of my classes; I continued working on it for a number of years after my degree was completed.  But then, due to the busyness of teaching, completing a masters, starting a family, and a myriad other excuses, I fell out of writing and it lay dormant for years.  As I was listening to Howard speak to my students about the writing process, I found the dying ember of my writing beginning to burn again.  What an unexpected joy!  Since then, I’ve found myself inspired and looking for excuses to write.

Perhaps then, it is an axiom that authentic learning experiences have the potential to inspire both students and teachers alike.

 

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