Once upon a time I was a writer. In elementary school I wrote stories about girls whom I wanted to be like and filled journals with my thoughts and summer adventures. My peers viewed me as a good writer voted as alternate reporter for our fourth grade class for SCA. (The winner, of course, was chosen by popularity). In high school, I no longer wrote for fun but only for class. It became required to type my papers, and I felt I was always late with computer excuses and printer problems, some of them real and some cover-ups for procrastination. This tension put a black cloud over my writing and my self esteem as a writer.
In my required college writing class, I received great feedback from my instructor and felt pride in my writing again, which I hadn’t for some time. I joined the newspaper staff second year and spent hours reviewing music and movies or reporting on concerts and art exhibits in the area. I worked my way up the ladder and eventually became the editor of the arts and entertainment department my third year. I considered a career in entertainment journalism, but, with the advent of the internet, the tide had started to shift to more gossip in the same way that photography was taken over by the paparazzi.
As I entered my teaching career, I realized that writing, like math, was something hard for me to teach. I felt like I had always been good at it and couldn’t remember the steps I had taken to become a writer in the first place. The few pieces I have recently written were model pieces for students to use when we were writing specific pieces. There was no time for students to write for fun, especially when we had to prepare for the SOL test that specifically tests on expository and persuasive writing. And each time I assigned a paper, it took me forever to give feedback to the students, so that it was meaningless to the student once the paper was finally returned.
As I begin my work with the reading/writing workshop I hope to give my students and myself to delve back into creative writing and a better avenue to discuss literature and writing. In the past, teaching reading and writing was much more of a monologue from me. I want to open of the channels of communication with my students to dialogue about what my students are reading and writing. I think this will give the avenue to have relationships with all students, not just the vocal or social ones.
I plan to use this blog to reflect on my work this year, to record what worked well, what didn’t, and what I want to do differently next year. I hope that I can find the time to reflect at least every two weeks on what is happening in my room. I don’t plan on a particular audience other than myself and anyone else who stumbles across my writing and is interested in following my journey. If you made your way here, feel free to leave me comments or questions.