50th Stories: Out of the Mouths of Babes

Celebrating 50 Years of Teachers & Writers Collaborative

Teachers & Writers Collaborative is turning 50 years old in fall 2017. To celebrate this milestone, we asked people who have been part of T&W’s work over the last five decades to tell their stories. Former T&W teaching artist Linda Winston remembers hearing, and being inspired by, the unvarnished truth from a child in one of her T&W classes.

While I was working with a group of very responsive kindergarten children in a T&W school in Queens, a sweet, bright Chinese-American girl latched onto to me, becoming my assistant—handed out paper, pencils, and crayons; collected work; shushed her excitable classmates—and biggest fan of that semester. On the last day before winter vacation, she came for a hug and whispered into my ear, “Miss Linda, I think you are the oldest person I know.”

I called my publisher an hour later and agreed to write a book on intergenerational learning that he’d been long urging me to do. The book, called Grandpartners, owes its existence to an observant kindergarten pupil—and of course, to a T&W residency.

Linda Winston is a cultural anthropologist and a teacher with ten years of experience teaching English and language arts in kindergarten through eighth grade. She has worked with children, families, and teachers in urban, suburban, and inner-city schools. Her articles have appeared in the literature on social networks and mental health as well as in Language Arts.