25 Things I Learned as a Teaching/Editorial Intern at Writopia— As a Writer, a Teacher and in General

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This summer I had the privilege of working at Writopia, a non-profit that runs writing workshops for kids ages 6 to 18, in Katonah/Hartsdale, New York, and I wrote a list summarizing what I learned there.

I was a teaching and editorial intern– basically I got to assistant teach (and occasionally teach on my own!) workshops in creative writing, including poetry, fiction, etc. as well as essay writing. I spent a lot of time in workshop, editing and helping kids with their own work. I also was the editor-in-chief (and sort of managing editor) of their literary magazines, The Ellipsis… and The (Parenthetical), so I read and copy edited creative work that kids had submitted from all around the country.

It was a busy summer, but it was so much fun. I learned about writing as a craft in such a real way, not even close to how I’m learning about writing at college. I learned about teaching by watching and doing. I learned about myself as a writer, as an individual, as someone who is a part of a team.

My Writopia family taught me, inspired me, and supported me and I am so appreciative of that and for them. Thank you Lena, Rob, Gaby, Scott, Donna, Kristin, Alexa, Eden, Julia, Emeline, Dani, and all of the other Writopia interns and teachers– I am so grateful to all of you and I miss you all already!


  1. You get as much out of something as you put into it.
  2. We become better by opening up.
  3. Treat life like an adventure or you’ll never have any fun.
  4. The universal is in the specific. (This especially goes for essay writing.)
  5. When teaching (and with wifi) patience is key.
  6. If you think you type slow, it’s not that, it’s just that “your brain moves faster than you can type.”
  7. Hugs are important! Believe in the power of hugs!
  8. In order to write about something, you have to care about it in some way, shape or form.
  9. Always be open to suggestions. (Edits, revisions, subjects to write about, etc.)
  10. Ask questions rather than criticize.
  11. If someone is having a hard time concentrating, focus on their needs and try something different.
  12. Sometimes students won’t want to share or workshop their work. That’s okay– as long as they’re writing.
  13. Be as present as possible, and be as enthusiastic and encouraging as possible. Kids will be more into what they’re doing/writing if you are too.
  14. Creative writing can be a LOT harder than academic writing.
  15. There’s always a way to turn something around and make what you or someone else is working on into something that can be worked with.
  16. Parents are difficult to deal with sometimes, but they usually have their kids’ best interest at heart.
  17. Be as open minded as possible. (About story ideas, people, opinions.)
  18. People are allowed to have their own opinions! Let them think for themselves– don’t force your own beliefs on them.
  19. Everything a story needs (COW)— character, what the character wants, and an obstacle in their way.
  20. Sometimes kids just need someone to show that they support them, even just a little bit, in order for them to grow. (Me too.)
  21. Spelling/grammar isn’t writing. Spelling/grammar is spelling/grammar. (</3)
  22. You have to kind of grow up and learn how to be independent at some point. (Driving to work, leading a group workshop, making my own lunch, etc.)
  23. Knowing when to ask for help when you need it is really important.
  24. Even if it’s from the same prompt, a story can go a million different ways.
  25. It’s important for kids to feel like they matter and that their voices are being heard, understood and appreciated.

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2 Responses to 25 Things I Learned as a Teaching/Editorial Intern at Writopia— As a Writer, a Teacher and in General

  1. Danny Livingston says:

    Really wonderful

    Danny Livingston dannyl2@optonline.net 914.661.8505 Cell 914.470.9881 Fax @shoemandanny

    From: Amanda Under Construction | ✍✺♡ Reply-To: Amanda Under Construction | ✍✺♡ Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 8:49 PM To: Danny Livingston Subject: [New post] 25 Things I Learned as a Teaching/Editorial Intern at Writopia— As a Writer, a Teacher and in General

    WordPress.com Amanda Livingston posted: ” This summer I had the privilege of working at Writopia, a non-profit that runs writing workshops for kids ages 6 to 18, in Katonah/Hartsdale, New York, and I wrote a list summarizing (basically) what I learned there. I was a teaching and editorial “

    Liked by 1 person

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