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I started thinking about the title of my blog. “Do my posts match the title?” I wondered. I’m writing. So that’s good. I’ve written often about what I am learning about myself and my life. Sometimes I’ve written about my experiences in the classroom. This post for example. But I’m making a goal to write more regularly about my teaching and classroom life. I’m a huge believer in taking time for reflection. Writing about the learning in my classroom will help me reflect. I haven’t written much at all about reading. So, that needs to change. Not a problem. Look at my summer reading stack.
I think I will have plenty to write about as I work my way through these. Next week I’ll be at the June Writing Institute at TCRWP, where I just know I’m going to discover and be introduced to even more titles to add to my pile and I can hardly wait.
But here is what I can write about now- what I have learned about writing because I am writing, what I know that will inform my teaching. I’m starting a list. I think I will be adding to it for a long time.
1. When I started writing, I began to really understand all those emotions that student writers feel. Frustration when you know your piece is going nowhere. Apathy when you can’t come up with an idea and don’t really care, or when you don’t feel like writing. Fear when you put yourself out there and actually share. I recently posted a link on Twitter to this post. I was terrified. It has gotten 29 views, not that many in the world of writing rock stars, but quite a few for little old me. I can share my writing ups and downs with my students and tell them what I do when I experience those highs and lows.
2. Students love to know that I am writing, and they love when I share my writing. Not only do I gain credibility with them for walking the walk, but they are a kind and appreciative audience. They often burst into spontaneous applause when I finished sharing a piece. I gained their trust because we were in this writing thing together.
3. Deadlines and regular scheduled writing opportunities help me maintain my writing habit and stay on track. They also give me an amazing opportunity to read what other regular, everyday writers are writing. I get ideas, gain insight, discover interesting writing voices, and learn a lot about how to support other writers with specific and detailed comments. I learn what I need as a writer, and it informs me as I structure classroom workshops.
4. I have learned that practice helps. I share that insight with students. And I am credible… I can show them.
5. I’ve gained experience that helps me work with my students not only as a teacher but also as a writer. That is a HUGE plus. When I do it, I get it. Suddenly what I knew to say and teach and learn took a leap beyond books and curriculum to authentic experiences. It was and is a wonderful Ah-ha moment.
6. I write in different places for different things. I use my notebook mostly for collecting idea, trying things out, writing poetry. I like the computer for composing and drafting because I am one of those writers who revises, A LOT, as I write. The more I write, the more I learn about my habits and preferences and knowing those things helps me as a writer. When I write in my notebook or on paper, it matters to me what kind of writing implement I use. I like fine tip Staedtler markers the best, I don’t like dull pencils. I need to remember this for my students, to notice and honor their habits and preferences and to encourage them to learn about themselves as writers.
To be continued…