Every class begins like this: “My name is Monica Prince and I’m going to be your favorite teacher.” Monica's teaching methods are based heavily on her slam poet persona—excessive hubris, high heels, and eye contact.
Her teaching philosophy is simple: let’s move mountains and break walls and light fires because the world is broken and if you’re taking my class, you’re looking for a toolbox and some super glue.
English composition and creative writing will not stop genocide, cure cancer, or bring our soldiers home. But the way Monica teaches these classes—with genuine interest in how her students define humanity, with constant questioning of that definition through poetry and prose—she turns ordinary students into self-aware learners who frame arguments, identify inconsistencies, and present solutions to the world’s problems. She's not always successful—not all her students want to improve the world; some don’t even want to come to class. And yet, the students who decide they don’t want to help fix what’s broken, at the very least they learn that about themselves. As it says in her syllabus, “Most importantly, you will be exposed to people, perspectives, and ideas that differ, align and drastically challenge your sense of self—and hopefully you will leave well-read, well-informed, and just plain well.”
Photo credit: Andrea Renee Johnson
Monica taught with Writers in the Schools (WITS) in different forms in three states for five years. In Georgia, from 2012-2014, she taught and facilitated the Early College Writers in the Schools Program, a WITS program that matched undergraduates with seventh graders. In Texas from 2014-2017, she taught creative writing and slam poetry with the summer Creative Writing Camp in Houston, co-sponsored by WITS Houston and Rice University's School Literacy and Culture department. In addition to that camp, Monica taught with the HYPE Freedom School in July 2016, a summer program for marginalized students to increase literacy and excitement about reading and culture. In Colorado from 2016-2017, Monica taught with the WITS-affiliated nonprofit, Colorado Humanities and the Center for the Book. With this program, she taught creative writing to high school seniors, focusing on Pulitzer Prize-winning work about the American West.
All these teaching artist gigs contribute to Monica's work as a writer, performer, and teacher. She utilizes the co-teaching model from Creative Writing Camp in Houston in her poetry classes at Susquehanna University; she implements the concept of "mentor texts" from Colorado Humanities in her Senior Seminar courses; and she encourages master class workshops, inspired by her Early College work, with the Slam Club she advises and the Choreopoem course she exclusively teaches. Teaching has proved the second-most rewarding part of Monica's art (the first being, of course, actual writing).
Want Monica to come teach a class, run a workshop, or review a curriculum plan?
Photo credit: Susquehanna University MarComm
Are you or someone you know a high school student interested in creative writing? Spend a week with Monica and other fabulous creative writing faculty at Susquehanna University with the Summer Writers Workshop (SWW), run every summer in July for the last few decades. In this camp, young writers from all over the country have the opportunity to write, revise, and perform their work, eventually publishing at least one piece in the SWW workshop anthology or submitting to our literary journal for high school writers, The Apprentice Writer. Join us this summer on campus!
On March 23, 2020, Susquehanna University pivoted to remote instruction in the face of a rising global pandemic. At that time, no one could foresee Covid-19’s long-lasting and widespread effects. While SU has successfully been back on campus since fall of 2020, it is worth recognizing how far students, faculty, and staff have come. Monica Prince offers a spoken-word reflection this anniversary video, "Better," composed by the university with photographic contributions from SU students.
Monica's latest choreopoem, Roadmap, is available for pre-order! Be the first to have it on July 1st!