UHSPSI Teacher Workshop w. Bill Moran

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You are an expert on You: Welcome to the House of Language

This workshop will give participants a ground-level door into the house of poetry, and not simply as tourists. It is professional development, framed in a Freirian critical pedagogy that sees students as they truly are: sole experts in and authors of their own story. It is also equal parts generative, as each person in the room will walk out of the room with art they’ve created and truly care about. This workshop doesn’t care to describe the house of poetry from the outside, but instead walks participants inside and allows them to discover it themselves and take ownership over that discovery, through games, model texts, prompts, and discussion. We will not only walk out as new (or renewed) authors but, having gone through it ourselves, as educators with a personal, internalized, first-hand experience what and how this might look like for our students: coming to see the self as curator and creator of art.

It’s far easier to have our students come to see themselves as writers, if we do so ourselves and become an example to them that: You are an expert on you. And frankly, until we demonstrate that for ourselves– taking ownership over our story and the language we invent to tell it– we can’t ask our students to do the same with a straight face. Be it poem or test essay: language is a tool. Don’t let your students work with a borrowed, broken one.


Bill Moran is a performance poet and former medic from Houston, TX. He is a two-time Austin Poetry Slam Champion, and has an MFA Poetry degree from Louisiana State University. He has toured regularly since 2011, performing and teaching throughout the UK, Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, and the US. His work has been featured on Button Poetry (video), University of Hell Press, Alien Mouth, Pressure Gauge Press, and Phoebe. He currently lives and works in Houston as a teaching artist for Writers in the Schools, and his solo debut book 'Oh God Get Out Get Out' is now available through Write Bloody Publishing.

Teaching Experience:
Since he began touring in 2011, to this day, Bill has held teaching placements in schools from rural Texas to Chicago, Australia, Poland, Malaysia, and beyond, some up to six weeks long while overseas. He began his first formalized role in mentorship, however, as the former president of Mic Check Poetry, a Texas non-profit dedicated to fostering community literacy in Brazos County. There he started a poetry program in the local juvenile justice center, which over several iterations in two years introduced poetry to minors in the justice system, and culminated in a published book and live performance of their work. After Mic Check, continued his instruction at his LSU Master’s program and the greater Baton Rouge area, including a one-year weekly program teaching poetry at the Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless.

Current Service:
Bill now happily renders his services for Writers In The Schools (https://witshouston.org/), a Houston-based alliance of creative writing programs primarily placed in the many schools of the nation’s fourth-largest city. As a writer-in-residence, has enjoyed numerous roles under the WITS banner, serving ages 9 to 18, but primarily works on performance-based spoken word poetry with high school teens in underserved areas of the city. This includes coaching the students three to four times a week directly in the art of slam poetry, as well as special placements in arts-focused HISD schools, My Brother’s Keeper programs, and the annual WITS Creative Writing Camp. But Bill also spends a considerable amount of time doing professional development work. This takes the form of sitting in on weekly HISD professional learning committees to teach educators how to write, and how to then go on to teach creative writing to their classes, in an effort to more fundamentally and fully integrate creative writing into their curriculum.

Evidence has shown that as educators view themselves more and more as self-actualized writers, so too do their students as they learn, from someone who is not simply a tourist, to take ownership over language, over their story, and to wield both on stage as well as page (with a marked rise in standardized testing for good measure.) Bill is proud to facilitate this process for new writers on both sides of the teacher’s desk, not only leading workshops and discussing pedagogy with teachers, but also modeling his lessons in their classrooms before handing the reins to the hard-working educators and observing how to go on to demonstrate their humanity to, and humanize, their students through involved creative self-expression.

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Organizer Utah High School Poetry Slam Initiative

Organizer of UHSPSI Teacher Workshop w. Bill Moran

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