For twenty years Penny Kittle has woven together artful teaching and a love of language, celebrating the written word with classes from elementary school through graduate school. Now, she shares the stories of students with whom she’s celebrated, struggled, and learned. More than a teaching memoir, this is a close-up look at how to teach powerful lessons and how to learn powerful lessons from teaching, especially from teaching writing. Kittle teaches her students that writing is a tool for developing their intellectual, academic, and emotional selves, and in these essays, she shows how both she and her students’ lives have been profoundly influenced by writing. You’ll look over her shoulder as she tries to win over a mischievous third grader, works with a fifth-grade alcoholic, and attempts to make sense of her profession as she watches secondary students drop out of school. And in each instance, you’ll see how writing can provide an outlet for difficult feelings, build connections and community, or foster resiliency in writers of any age.
Best of all, The Greatest Catch
is a model for your own professional development. In addition to her inspirational and pragmatic stories, Kittle includes Craft Notes that demonstrate how she composed her essays so that you can use the same strategies for your classroom life. You’ll find these tools immediately useful for structuring reflective writing that helps you uncover the many layers of meaning in your work, just as Kittle, herself, has. Join Penny Kittle in the journey of a teaching lifetime and learn from her experience. Begin with any essay, or read it cover to cover. You’ll find that no matter where you start you’ll end up at the same place: inspired to teach, write, and learn.
Foreword by Tom Romano. Afterword by Chris Crutcher.