Every morning, students can choose to read, write, or shop for books. At the beginning of the year, students read. Mostly graphic novels. It was a lovely prelude to read aloud.
Yesterday, I noticed a shift. Students were writing. Students who a few weeks ago struggled to type in their emails were at it deep into their stories on Chrome books.
Last night I read their writing and noticed my own shift as a teacher.
I noticed my first read has fundamentally changed.
At the beginning of my teaching life, the first read was painful. I had to work hard to see beyond the errors. The change in my vision started years ago at a TCRWP summer institute in a session with Katherine Bomer where she had us dig for the “hidden gems” in our student’s writing. That summer work marked the beginning of how I saw student writing. I had to consciously stop my problem focused thinking to see the hidden writer.
Last night, I noticed the joy reading student brings. It always makes me smile because it shows me who they are and what they could be. What they value, what worries them.
Bad report cards, popularity wars, Minecraft disasters, lost best friends, after-school drama, trouble with the principal. Cars they want to drive, people they want to be.
The games they play. The stories they read. The lines they hear.
This all shows up in their writing.
Their writing is a window. It helps us see our students and more importantly allows students know themselves. This is why writing matters. Why students choose to write. Why our children must write, and we must allow for it. Writing sifts through our problems and helps us recognize our dreams. Writing shows us who we are and who we could become.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.