Student feedback from the 2011-2012 school year:
“When we started I was convinced that I had nothing of interest to say and that I wasn’t good at writing and expressing my feelings. By the end that totally changed and I was really happy that I took a risk and and shared a private part of me to everyone in the class. Because of spoken word and your great teaching, I had the courage to do this and that’s something I’ll remember and carry with me the rest of my life.
During this process I learned alot about myself. To create my piece, I really had to think about what I was passionate about and I’ve never really done that until spoken word. You have made me want to keep writing and sharing my experiences with an audience.” – Aynsley Romaniuk
“I think the most valuable part of the entire process was the sheer honesty and vulnerability displayed by everyone. People were able to be completely open and honest without fear or judgment from others.” -Wendel Wray
“I learned that you can write poetry about anything. It doesn’t matter what its about as long as if you can tell an audience about it, and make connections then your poem can be great.” – Sinead Hansford
“I learned that poems should not only be read from paper but told to the audience as if we were telling a story. I like how you taught me about how to use my voice when I recite the poem and what kind of expressions my face should have during my performance. From you I also learned how to get rid of the bad habit I had of walking around to try and hide the fact that I was nervous.” -Dusica Trajkovic
“Awesome meeting you, Tanya and thank you so much for everything this week! Spoken word will definitely remain a part of my life and I hope to see you in the future; maybe at the Spoken Word Festival!” – Lindsay Cronkite
The following are notes of feedback I received from a sample of 17 of the 700+ students I worked with in the 2010-2011 school year:
Thanks for visiting, it was a great experience. I’m glad I know how to write poetry, I didn’t think I could before you came! I’m glad you’re so energetic and relatable.
Thank you for coming into our class and giving us the tools to experience poetry this way. This was the best week of English class EVER!
I liked this week very much. The first day was very welcoming and fun. The music and moving around is a nice touch. Your poems are very good and surprising.
Interaction with everyone was good. Helped us get creative, more involved with the whole class and ourselves. Good examples and informative about how a poet performs, pre-performs.
This workshop has allowed me to understand the physical needs of spoken word poems. It also has given me more appreciation of poets because it is very hard and difficult to write and perform poems.
This workshop series has allowed me to reveal a different side of me that I rarely get to. Poetry is a hobby, a lifestyle and by doing this workshop it has given me much more experience.
The workshop series made me feel confident and that I can write poems… I would love to do this again.
I liked everything. Really took me out of my comfort zone. Great feedback, it really helped.
I learned how to express myself well during the free writing.
I don’t usually express my true feelings often, and I enjoyed it.
I liked how you got us up and moving around.
This workshop allowed me to express myself and made me present something I was proud of.
It’s given me the opportunity to write poems the way I want and express my thoughts that usually will not be shown by anything else.
It meant a lot to be able to express how I feel.
It has meant a lot because I now respect poetry much more than before.
It means a lot to me because I learned another way to express my emotions. This has been such a memorable experience.
I think I’m going to write more often thanks to you!
A testament by Bree after I led a week of workshops for her Writer’s Craft class:
“After your workshop, It was clear I was hooked on spoken word. Many days I came home after school and spent hours on you tube watching this amazing new art form you introduced me to. I also began writing every single day whether it was a haiku or working on a lengthier poem. I even attended one of the youth slams in Toronto where I was actually chosen to be a judge which is incredibly challenging. I had so much respect for everyone who got up on that stage, it was hard not to give them all tens 🙂 The slam was overwhelming, receiving all of the emotions and energy the poets put on the table, but it just further motivated me to become more involved in spoken word.
I remember you challenging me throughout the week by picking me to speak in front of the class which I thought was really cool and greatly appreciated! I also remember how you approached me on the second or third day with a sticky note of a you tube video. The video was of a poem about female empowerment and not apologizing for speaking your truth. I still watch this video from time to time and will always internalize the message, so thank you for that poem. I remember being told many times that week that I did not have to perform my spoken word poem at the end of the week in front of my class because that type of thing proves to be challenging for me. Before your workshop began I was still debating whether or not I was going to accept that particular challenge. But with your encouragement in its various forms and my interest in spoken word, I wanted to give it a shot. I remember you sitting on the side of the stage, snapping your fingers when I got really stuck while I was performing my poem. Thank you for that encouragement because it was what kept me going. Although that moment was very challenging for me, it was so poignant. It was the first time I was expressing the voice and words that had always been inside of me but never made their way out. I tend to hold back when it comes to expressing myself and my thoughts but for that moment I didn’t. This was an incredible moment of growth for me. Thank you for creating that safe space that week where that voice made itself heard. There are still many words that have not made there way out yet but I feel spoken word and poetry will be the outlet and place where they will be heard. So thank you for introducing me to this incredible tool. Through spoken word I feel I can let my guard down and learn about the person I am meant to be.”