This post was written by Moth Lead Coach, Lisa Podell, who facilitated our summer storytelling MothSHOPS here at Girls Write Now.
It is a complete anomaly that I am a functioning New Yorker because there’s nothing more irritating to me than frenetic spaces. But just as environments can be toxic to the soul, there are also those that can uplift and inspire. It is from these precious spaces that cathartic stories have the opportunity to unfold. I am fortunate enough to have taught storytelling workshops through The Moth at such a sacred space otherwise known as Girls Write Now.
On the first day of the workshop series, I took a few minutes to observe the space. I noticed:
- Young teens working together at computers: Independence, Collaborative Learning
- Bagels left out for anyone to eat: Care, Community
- Chairs evenly spaced out and in semi-circle formation: Structure, Democratic Learning
- Graffiti Wall with motivational words: Arts Education
- Large windows letting in natural light and an epic skyline: Real-World Context, Freedom
With each observation came a positive shift in my mind and body:
- I am no longer thinking about the hectic commute and pedestrian traffic: Present-Minded
- I am taking slow and even breaths: Relaxed and Focused
- I believe the staff is invested in and prepared for the class: Trust
- I appreciate the use of visual displays to reinforce community agreements and ways of being: Respect
- I feel excited and ready to create: Engaged
As a former classroom teacher, I’ve often wondered what contributes to a successful learning experience. What you teach and how you teach are certainly key components — but the physical space in which you teach can be just as powerful.
Girls Write Now has built a safe haven where mentors, mentees and anyone who enters the space can create, share, cry, laugh, and take bold risks — all of which leads to life-long learning. Here’s a nod to Girls Write Now for taking education in a positive and powerful direction.
- We loved working with The Moth to hone our storytelling skills. Check out summer intern Eryn’s first-hand account of a MothSHOP!