“Oh my, what an intelligent question! “ exclaimed our Literacy Week author guest, Mrs. Zarah Gagatiga, a librarian by profession but an author by heart.
Mrs. Zarah Gagatiga was awed. She told the beaming Grade 4 students to list down questions they have always wanted to ask a book author like her — three questions that linger in their minds and have always been curious about. And lo and behold! Mrs. Gagatiga got pretty occupied with the following questions:
- Why did you like to be an author?
- How do you become an author?
- How many skills must a writer have?
- How can you get ideas for your book?
- Is it hard to be an author?
- How do you feel as an author?
- What was your feeling when you wrote those books?
- How do you think you can help children learn about the books you made?
Who would have thought that students, aged between 9 – 11 years, would ask deep and sensible questions? Listening to the students asking questions intelligently and confidently would definitely make any teacher beam with pride. The daily encounters in school with lessons that exercise higher order thinking skills paid off. Sometimes, it takes one unsuspecting event to make you realize all the efforts were worth it.
Mrs. Zarah Gagatiga was a HOTS person herself. She quenched the thirst for knowledge of her young audience with her wit and charm. She not only shared her experiences in writing a book but she inspired them to come up with their own book someday.
According to Mrs. Gagatiga, writing a book was both easy and difficult. Getting an idea of what to write was easy. Ideas are everywhere. One just needs to adapt, read more versions of the story and rewrite. A good writer keeps on reading. It also helps to listen to family and friends’ opinions and even listening to oneself to get insights. One has to learn to express his/her own feelings and experience. Creativity is also an essential ingredient. Your imagination must not cease. Discipline yourself to think and never cease to do so.
“Being an author is not easy work,” says Mrs. Gagatiga. She had to devote herself to writing, and that meant detaching herself from her children and her family. They should give her writing time, and she is fortunate enough for her family’s generosity.
“What is good about writing is that you get to share the books and the stories plus you get to visit schools. That is rewarding,” said Mrs. Gagatiga. To answer the last question of the students, she believes that her publisher, the librarians, and the teacher must help her in making other people, especially the children, learn about her books. That way, her desire to educate and help children learn through her books will be attainable. As her parting words, “Writing is not done in isolation…not done alone…but needs help of other people”.
The session ended with an assignment. Mrs. Gagatiga left the students with an illustration of a cake. Guess what? The students’ stories out of this “cake” were amazing.
Kudos to you, Mrs. Zarah Gagatiga! May you have more books to share.