Writers in the Schools (WITS) is looking for interns for Summer 2015. Interns will work in Houston, Texas, in a variety of areas, gaining experience in creative writing instruction, early childhood education, non-profit administration, marketing, and/or arts education. Internships also serve as networking opportunities to meet colleagues in education, arts education, and creative writing fields. Upon successful completion of the internship, WITS will serve as a reference and will provide letters of recommendation. Please visit our website to read about and apply for one of our three internships: Education Marketing, Meta-Four Assistant Coach, and Teaching Assistant.
Posts Tagged: WITS Internship
This past Tuesday marked my last day at Travis Elementary as an assistant teacher with the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. On my final day, the Travis kids were asked to read one to two of their favorite compositions, which were published in their WITS Anthology, on a stage and in front of an audience.
I met MaryScott at the Multi-Purpose Activity Court, where she had already arranged the folding chairs for an audience,set up the microphone and speakers, adjusted the ‘WITS-purple’ lighting, and covered a flowery tablecloth with fresh baked cookies and juice boxes. The room was ready.
One-by-one, the first group of fourth graders filed in. They circled the snack table, eyeing the cookies, on their way to the folding chairs. After MaryScott announced the ‘rules’ (that is, perform your poem before indulging in the cookies), the kids went to work. They approached the microphone, undaunted by their audience, and read the poems they had worked on all year.
I managed the snack table, handing the kids a cookie and a high-five after each performance. The performance was both delightful and sad; of course, I’d miss those kids. Before leaving the gymnasium, most of them lined up behind the snack table to give me goodbye hugs, ask me if I’d be teaching 5th grade next year, or shout an elated “Thank You, Miss Eriel!”
These students were a quirky bunch, and I enjoyed every hour I spent with both groups – no matter how much King Cake they consumed, which quadrupled their energy levels, or how many beanbags they had dotting the floor, turning the classroom into an obstacle course, the time was always well spent. I’ll miss reading their work and helping them through the editing process. I’ll miss listening to them debate over how old I was – they couldn’t decide between twelve and fourteen. I’ll miss the girls asking when I’d finally bring ‘Flounder’ and ‘Sebastian’ with me to Travis.
It has been a delight working with students at Travis Elementary, WITS writer MaryScott Hagle, and the WITS community. I hope to see and work with all of them in the future.
Eriel, WITS Intern
When I applied to intern at Writers in the Schools (WITS), I wasn’t exactly sure what I would learn. As an education major, I had no background in creative writing and very limited experience with non-profits. I wondered what sort of insights would I gain from working with WITS. Two short months later, I am leaving 1523 West Main with an armful of incredible experiences and valuable lessons learned.
Getting to be a fly on the wall at the WITS office this summer, I was given an authentic experience of the non-profit world. I was invited to sit in on meetings, converse with the WITS staff, and participate in the summer programs. From those opportunities, I have learned about non-profit structure and some of the challenges of non-profit involvement in education. I now have a true appreciation for the “behind the scenes” work of non-profit programming and am grateful for the effort that non-profit organizations put into positively affecting the community.
Interning with WITS has also influenced the type of teacher I will be in the future. Before WITS, I really hadn’t given much thought to the involvement of creativity in the classroom. That’s what the art and music teacher focused on, right? After observing the Summer Creative Writing Workshops this summer, experiencing how the students became so engaged and excited about learning and teachers who were passionate about authentic learning experiences, I will never again disregard the importance of creativity and imagination in the classroom.
I realized that when a teacher’s emphasis is moved from student performance to student experience, engaging students with opportunities to explore and create, authentic learning is the natural result. The teacher is also provided with an incredible platform to get to know a student through their artistic expression, enriching the student-teacher relationship. Through WITS, I have gained this understanding, which will affect not only how I teach, but also the students that I teach.
I am honored to have been welcomed into Writers in the Schools this summer. I am grateful for my experience of working for an organization with true passion for quality fine arts education and belief in the importance of every person’s story. Thank you WITS, for the lessons I have learned and the experiences you have given me. You will always be a part of my story.
By Megan McKitrick
[Megan McKitrick was the 2011 ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program Intern at WITS. She is a rising junior at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.]
I always figured that the ideal summer internship would be challenging, educational, worthwhile, and relevant to my career goals. And truth be told, after spending countless hours in high school and college filing papers, organizing archives, editing reports, and finding other ways to give myself paper cuts, I had decided that my happy internship vision didn’t exist.
That is, until the summer I discovered Writers in the Schools.
I was finishing my sophomore year in college when a professor referred me to the WITS website. A month later, I became one of the first interns for their Summer Creative Writing Workshops, a unique and highly rated summer program that teaches the joys of creative writing to Houston area children grades K-12. I spent three weeks assisting with classroom instruction and activities, escorting classes to museum field trips, and interacting with students, teachers, writers, artists, administrators, and parents.
Here’s how the internship scored on my checklist:
Challenging? Check. Working at a summer camp full of energetic and creative young students will certainly keep you on your toes.
Educational? Check. Since I was interested in teaching but still nervous about my classroom management skills, I was happy to discover the chance to soak in classroom experience without having the full pressure of managing the students. Even better, I found myself working with a group of passionate and highly creative teachers and writers, all of whom were more than willing to share ideas and advice with me. I even got an inside look at the non-profit world.
Worthwhile? Check check. As a teaching assistant, I often found myself working one-on-one with the students. I found this particularly rewarding when I helped a Korean boy learn how to transfer his creativity and his vocal energy into the written word. When the classes celebrated their achievements as writers at their end of the camp readings, I couldn’t help but also feel a sense of accomplishment at their growth. I could see that the parents felt proud and thankful, and I walked away feeling like I had made a difference in my community.
Relevant to my career goals? I was thrilled to find such an inspired mix of my interests in writing, education, and community service. In fact, I fell in love with WITS so much that I am now working for them, so this also receives a huge check mark.
In the end, the internship exceeded my standards. The experience was not only valuable but it was also quite fun. What’s more, I discovered that my energy and enthusiasm for writing was reinvigorated. Churning out eight page analytical reports on John Donne sonnets had made me forget why I became an English major in the first place. Seeing the delight on a young girl’s face while she read a poem about how much she loves her father reminded me how much I love the creative process of writing. Like the students, I left the camp with a feeling of personal growth and excitement about picking up a pen and paper when I got home.
By Kristina McDonald
2006 Summer Creative Writing Workshop Intern
Current WITS Office Manager
WITS is now accepting applications for their summer 2009 internships. The deadline is Wednesday, April 1st. Visit our website for more details.
[photo by Alex Gilbert of WITS]