Slice of Life: Inside Voices

Week six. The beginning. Still.
I feel like I should be further along. But I’m not. Yet.

After class, I sat and stared. Shell-shocked.  I thought of my first years of teaching when I cried at lunchtime. After so many years of teaching, surely I shouldn’t be in the same spot.

I recharged the devices, solved a few tech issues. Felt less incapable. Rephrase that, more capable. Reposition, rethink. Learning is a tough gift to give and receive.

The door opened. “Hey, Mrs. Harmatz, I forgot to leave this with you.” She handed me her reader’s notebook.

I forgot. She remembered. It must have mattered.

Driving home, I thought I can’t slice. There’s nothing I want to say. Out loud.

Nursing my wounds, I ventured to student writing.  Their sweet and silly all-alone voices came through and brought me back. Unwittingly I went to a place of hope.

In a large classroom of big kids, it’s hard to hear what’s inside. It’s not the voice they show to the world. The out loud voices are different. It’s the inside voice that is aching to get out. To be heard. They break my heart and make me smile. Who we appear to be in context is not always who we are.  It’s my job to honor that inside voice. To hear it and bring it out.

Writing is a gift. I’m glad I sliced.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for a place to share our inside voices, that remind us why we are here. Read more slices here.


12 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Inside Voices

  1. Learning is a tough gift to give and receive. This is so beautiful and true. I love hearing your respect for your students. You are a model of what all teachers should be. Teaching is damn hard work and you do it well.

  2. I’m moved by your words and your experience and how you shared them here! “It’s the inside voice that is aching to get out.” YES! I think that’s why I LOVE reading the writing of my students. I get to really see them!! What a gift!

  3. It is so true that writing is the inner voice – things sneak out when you are in front of the blank page. It is wonderful that your students are learning that at such a young age. She remembered because she cares and she knows you care. That is also a gift!
    Clare and Tammy

  4. For us, it’s week 4 or 5. Still seems achingly slow but with short weeks and heat, it’s so early and YET so slow.

    “Week six. The beginning. Still.
    I feel like I should be further along. But I’m not. Yet”

    Life takes time. Caring and sharing takes time. Vulnerability leaks into notebooks. Not YET to be seen on their faces!

  5. The gift of writing. Your students also give you so much when you listen to their inside voices. I love this piece for many reasons. It speaks to the heart of teaching. It also speaks to your own heart. I’m glad you wrote, too.

  6. This was such heartfelt piece. We are in week 3 and the honeymoon is over, especially in my afternoon class. But I am taking a lesson from you. Although their outside voices are loud, I need to find strength in their inside voices, the ones they put on paper.

  7. I’m glad you wrote, too, Julieanne. I wrote a poem long ago about these layers, like peeling an onion, and allowing us to see those inner layers. It feels like those “inside” voices may be coming in the writing, a step forward.

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