I was out due to the extreme amount of neck pain I had yesterday. Therefore, when I returned to school this morning, I found the students’ work trays brimming with papers waiting to be checked. I sorted them into my file tote folders and started making my way through them about two hours ago. I discovered that many of my students turned in their two page Q/A’s that dealt with a problem they’ve encountered (which might be their life topic). Why? I wondered. The bottom of the paper didn’t request for it to be turned-in to the writing tray at the end of workshop time.
One paper after another, I was touched with my students’ honesty and ability to trust me with the most important problems of their lives, which ranged from trouble with siblings to loved ones who died of cancer to a family member who is in jail. After reading through over half of my 20 students’ papers I realized that they were entrusting me with the stuff of their lives… the intimate details of parents fighting and hearts aching at the loss of a beloved grandparent. I’m so touched that they turned these papers in… when they didn’t have to, just to have my eye on their writing, which moved me into silence for a good 20 minutes. (Something that’s hard to come by seeing as I talked at six months old!)
Ah, the joys of teaching memoir!
Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.