I’m Peter Marmorek, and I taught high school for thirty-two years, specializing in senior creative writing and World Religions, before I finally graduated in 2003. About a third of my career was spent in an alternative school where I learned the power of small scale individualized instruction. I tried, I believe with some success, to bring that way of personalized teaching back into large traditional schools. My greatest joy in teaching was always working directly with students to support them; I was the staff coordinator of our school’s gifted program, and staff advisor to both the Muslim Student Association and the Anti-Homophobic Alliance, amongst many others.
I have a strong background in computers, going back to my undergraduate degree from M.I.T., and learning programming at IBM in the 1960’s. Besides running my school’s computer lab, I co-created computer programs for the Ontario Government to teach students to write better essays; helped set up “Creating a Culture of Change”, a bulletin board for 10,000 Ontario teachers; and worked with Writers In Electronic Residence, a wonderful Canadian program that allows high school students to interact with published writers. In the last decade, I set up online discussion groups for most of my senior English programs, and was consistently amazed at how engaging the computer experience was for my students.
I have been part of a writing circle, a small group of people who meet regularly to write and read their work to each other for over a dozen years, first with Oriah Mountain Dreamer, later on our own. It has been a powerful and magical experience for all the members of the group, and how well it worked was a large part of what led me to create The Writers’ Croft.
When I started work on The Writers’ Croft, I found it useful to write a personal piece about my philosophy of how to teach writing. You can read it here. And should you be curious, you can see what I look like here.