“Saying YES to Writing means saying
NO to fear and doubt.”
– Bryan Hutchinson
This is so true.
Being a teacher inside the public school, I've encountered stories inside and outside of the classroom that showed the battled between fear and writing.
"Dan of Section One"
I've coached a grade 6 student, he was in the pilot section, the best section among all grade 6 sections.
I chose him to be a representative in one of the writing competitions, as I felt he's interest in writing. Much to my surprise as we went through a one on one coaching, he doesn't know or might have forgotten the basic writing technicalities: capitalization, period, indentation and so as the basic grammar rules. He is a student from the pilot section who cannot properly write a 5-sentence paragraph in English. Despite that, he’s courageous enough to not give up. And the ending? He won in the writing competition and became a regional qualifier.
"Ted and Vic, potential and fear"
One time, I was looking for 'scoops' for our campus journalism. I went around the school community and saw a grade 4 and 5 student playing outside. I asked them if they know something around the community that's newsworthy. And we talked for hours, they know a lot, they have a pocket full of stories, not just about the community but even about life, they could be good writers if they put into paper the things they've shared. When I asked them, "I searched for aspiring writers, you should've joined our team", they said they were scared, "we can't write in English, ma'am".
“Carl on failures and dreams”
He’s part of the journalism club and became a representative in competing for a writing competition. As a teacher, I really saw his potential. As compared to the other pupils, I saw the shine in his eyes and felt his excitement whenever he goes on writing, and being challenged into writing. I never said it to him, but I expected he can win the competition. He was aiming for regionals, but he didn’t get in. But that didn’t stop him. When I asked him, how he’s feeling, with hope he said “Ma’am, it’s okay, I will keep writing until I became really good at it.” He may have not won, but he was very happy just by seeing his name printed on the campus paper, and as he always mentioned “Someday ma’am, I can publish my own book.”
There may have been these challenges, but these kids also have a way of holding unto hope and as an adult, it makes you want to offer them a sense of possibility.
So, why am I sharing this?
Because I want to draw a picture, these were the stories that pushed us, motivated us and challenged us, as teachers, as a contributor, to do something. There is a “road block” and something must be done, and so we start with this 'baby step':
"Letters Writing Camp" (LWC)
What is the project about?
In a public school, it’s rare, to have an opportunity to have a writing camp (for free and of quality), because such project requires a lot of time and support (financially).
Letters writing camp is changing that as it will be done for public school pupils who have a heart for writing.
For its first implementation, it will be a 2-day, overnight writing camp wherein pupils will be staying together going through the elements of writing, experiencing its process and publishing their own story books. All these to be done and executed in a fun and engaging way as it shall be facilitated by trained teachers who’ll serve as their camp advisers.
What are the objectives of the project?
The ‘Letters Writing Camp’ project aims to give selected Grades 4-6 students an avenue to develop their creative writing skills.
To make them feel that writing both in English and Filipino is not something to fear but rather something that they can enjoy.
Part of its goal as well is to develop the kids’ critical thinking skills as they break down ideas and build it into a one final book.
Lastly, the project also aims innovation as tablets or computers is still rarely used inside the classroom. With ‘Letters Writing Camp’, we aim to let the pupils experience innovation as they create their works using tablets.
How can I help?
You can partake in this exciting project by donating, sharing and promoting this campaign. We aim to reach at least P260, 000 (est $5200). The raised fund will be appropriated for:
(1) the tablets that will be used by the participants, 2 pax/ tablet,
(2) Overall camp materials and logistics like books, school supplies, food
(3) Allowance/ token for volunteer camp advisers and
(4) Production of the books created by the kids.
If you also know a possible organization that sponsor tablets and/or other materials needed, we are also open for partnership.
Who will benefit?
For our first "tour" of LWC, we'll do it in the school that I'm teaching at which is Malaban Elementary School, Binan City, Laguna. A school placed in a depressed and challenged area.
There will be 50 participants from grades 4-6 that are selected from the lowest to the highest section. They will be provided with the camp kit (journal, pen, program, tablet, handouts) food and a souvenir, all for free.
After the memorable overnight writing camp, the pupils will be left with a challenge of promoting and helping their classmates in terms of creative writing.
Where will this project go?
As mentioned this is the first “tour”, as the project also has its long term goal which is go and visit more schools in the future and offer if not same, but more improved project every tour.
This is not a dream, this is a goal that we hope to achieve, and we seek that you can be with us in achieving this goal. The education system in the Philippines still needs a lot of work, and these kids still needs a lot of help. If we can all work together as one, we can fire up the hope in the hearts of these kids. A sense of possibilities.