A group exercise meant for the first day of a creative writing class
This course demands utmost respect from everyone. Writing is a personal and vulnerable activity, and we share that vulnerability in this space. Disrespectful behavior toward anyone in this class is never ok.
Let’s take a moment to define what we want to agree to, as we work to establish our community. In groups of four or five, list at least five agreements that everyone in your group stands behind. (Example agreement: “We agree to step up and step back, allowing everyone space to speak and contribute.”)
As you come up with your list, think about the following scenarios. What agreements could we call upon to address these scenarios?
Student A is focused on the iPhone instead of on the workshop. This makes the writer who is up for workshop feel angry and hurt. The same thing happens when students offer comments in class discussion.
Student B makes a racist comment about one of the characters in a story that we read together as a class.
Student C dislikes science fiction, fantasy, and romance stories. When these stories come up for workshop, Student D writes a cursory response and offers only a single snide comment in the conversation.
Student D wants to submit a 50-page story for workshop. Other students express concern about the workload this entails for the respondents.
Student E does not want to have to read things that aren't interesting to them. When Student E is part of a small group, they have little to contribute because they haven't prepared for class.
List some of your own scenarios, based on your experiences in other classes.