Poetic Power

A Creative Communication blog

Featured Teacher: Jackie Johnson

on March 13, 2014

ProfileJackie Johnson is a 9th and 12th grade English teacher at First Academy-Leesburg in Leesburg, FL.  Jackie’s students participated in our contest last Spring 2013, and a whopping 31 students were accepted for publication in our anthology.  As only 45% of students across the United States and Canada are accepted for publication, this is a very impressive number.

“I’m just beginning my third year of teaching.” Jackie explains, “I received a letter from Creative Communication notifying me that one of my students, Allan Purcell, was one of the Top Ten Winners for the Poetic Power contest (he was a 12th grader). I’m thrilled for him and was excited to hear the news! This was the first year I’d had my students enter the contest and I was just overwhelmed with the results I received back from your organization and with the positive feedback I had from my students.”

We asked Jackie her thoughts as a teacher on engaging students in writing in the classroom.  Jackie told us, “When it comes to teaching English, there’s no more important skill to teach than communication. And communication encompasses so much — reading, writing, speaking, even analyzing. When you teach a student how to write, you give him or her power. Power to communicate. Power to express. Power to be creative, to discover a unique style, to play with words, to manifest thoughts. There is ‘conventional’ and ‘unconventional’ in writing, but there really are no (or few) hard and fast rules. I think taking the ‘prescriptive’ out of writing and simply teaching young students that writing is about being an effective communicator (did you get your point across? did you do it well? good! then it was a success) instills both confidence and creativity in the students. I like to give my class a variety of writing experiences in the classroom. This allows them to find a niche — do they enjoy writing analytic essays? creative stories? poetry? Instilling a passion for the creativity of writing and communication is key. That’s my goal. If the kids learn to love writing, then they’ll be good at it. That’s why I loved this contest. It allowed the students to write just a little about anything they wanted. When they found out that their work was recognized, it was a confidence boost to their writing abilities. Now that they’ve been recognized as being ‘good’ at writing, they’re excited to do it more!”

Congratulations to Jackie and all of her students who are now published writers! We look forward to seeing more work from her very talented students. You can read Allan Purcell’s Top Ten essay by clicking here and see his feature on our blog here.

To learn more about our national writing contests, visit www.poeticpower.com.


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