When students, or anybody for that matter, feel the freedom to just write, it is beautiful. At first, their attempts might be awkward or shoddy, but that is only because so many potential writers are forced into a box and chained up to so many requirements that once the constraints are lifted, they don’t know what to do with themselves.
One of my college classmates told me that she had to write 500 or 1000 word essays-the essays had to be exactly those number of words or the students would automatically fail the paper. To this day, she hates English with a passion. Everything that I saw her write was both forced and insecure. She constantly sought the approval and agreement of the reader, and kept writing “but that’s just my opinion and I hope you guys aren’t offended.” She couldn’t bring herself to just say what she thought, and I believe that her overly rigid high school requirements contributed in a big way to that. Granted, she grew up in West Africa where the school system is much different, but I have met so many people who fear or hate writing because they always felt as if they could never do right. More teachers should utilize found poetry as a way to get at the heart of writing, which is, of course, creativity. Creativity and heart itself.
The DuPont Challenge acknowledges the significant contributions made by teachers. Each sponsoring science teacher of a first-place winner receives a $500 educational award, an expenses-paid trip with the student and parent to The Walt Disney World® Resort and Kennedy Space Center, and an expenses-paid, DuPont-sponsored trip to the 2013 National Science Teachers Association national conference. Sponsoring teachers of the second- and third-place winners receive $500 and $250 educational awards, respectively, and expenses-paid trips to The Walt Disney World® Resort and Kennedy Space Center.