Slice of Life: Teacher Writers

My teaching life created my writing life, and my teaching life grows with writing practice. Whether it’s a reflection on a professional text, a writing lesson, a read aloud or a conference with a student, I am a better teacher when I take the time to write. It’s the warp and woof.

A byproduct of this has been the development of a writing life that lives alongside my teaching life. Vignettes, poems, chapters, essay thoughts reside in my Google drive with no intentions.  My projects with no purpose. For my eyes only.

But, I promised I’d workshop a writing piece.  It sounded like a good idea, at first. At a distance. Oh yes! I’d love that. But as the day got closer, it sounded less appealing. All of those pieces I’d been playing with I wasn’t ready to share. I needed something new.

My students were about to start their “true essay” drafts.  What better practice? I started early Friday morning. By the end of the day, it was a far cry from where I wanted it to be. Did my thoughts connect? Transitions were an issue. Maybe this is the point — A writing group is a place to get out of your head and listen. With a mixture of panic and doubt, I shared the document.

The day came. The hour came. My turn came.

What was this about?
Why did I write this?
The virtual nature of the group allowed me to read comments beforehand
(Note to self: Next time, read comments before we meet). 

I’m still processing. Each comment stretched my thinking in directions I had not considered. The work I need to do is substantial, but I walked away wanting to work.

What a gift. To be supported and nudged toward something better while being acknowledged for something valuable.

What a gift for the writer and the teacher in me.
This is what I want for my students. I thought of peer work in a different light. Now, the value of the experience is real for me. Understanding provides an incentive to provide my students with this type of collaboration.

I can’t  thank you lovely teacher-writers enough. Thank you, Margaret, Julie, and Catherine.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.



13 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Teacher Writers

    • Thanks for asking! See this is why I need a writing group! According to it is
      “the essential foundation or base of any structure or organization; from weaving, in which the warp — the threads that run lengthwise — and the woof — the threads that run across — make up the fabric: “The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are the warp and woof of the American nation.”

  1. You identified the purpose of a writing group: “To be supported and nudged toward something better while being acknowledged for something valuable.” We need to keep that purpose at the forefront. Writing is brave and makes you so vulnerable. A writing group can be a support or a burden. I’m glad you found support with us. I’m glad you wrote and shared.

  2. This will give you so many good places to go with your own students, Julieanne. And good for you for taking the step and sharing.

  3. A pleasure to read your thoughts about teaching and writing as you are reading my slice. I am getting the message in a vibration on my watch. How 2016 🙂 ! Happy for you too that you have such a special writing group. Hope to see you face-to-face in Atlanta. Safe travels 🙂

  4. Your reflections have deep roots that grow and flourish in your teaching. What a wonderful experience which developed your appreciation for the power of peer work. I hope you do meet up with Bonnie, if so, give her a hug for me. Have a wonderful conference!

  5. The writing for nothing thing can only go so far because we are community oriented beings. We thrive in the right supportive circumstances. Your writing is a gift. More people need to know how you think, trust me.

  6. Ohhh! This post made me happy on so many levels! I’m glad you’re embracing the writing group, and I love the reflections you have about being workshopped! It’s hard and vulnerable and a HUGE way to learn! Can’t wait to see you in a few days!

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