Most of us know the importance of writing with our students. However, there is a significant difference between being a genuine writer and writing simply for the sake of having an model to share with students. When we enter focus lessons with a piece of our writing in tow, and yet already have all of the answers to our questions, and know how students are going to respond, then we are, quite simply, devaluing the writing experience. No matter how much we say, “Writing matters; writing is important; look, I write,” the minute we bring a piece of writing to the meeting area written simply for the lesson, we erase all that we have built.
Kids know a big faker when the see one. If our purpose for writing never leaves the classroom walls, then we’re not genuine writers. Now, I’m not proposing that everyone begins blogging nor everyone submits book proposals or journal articles nor everyone writes for the newspaper; I am proposing the we find purpose outside of our classroom walls for our writing.
Write for your kids; your parents; yourself. Do something that takes your writing outside of the classroom and beyond the focus lesson or a conference. Today, write for real — because something is yanking at your pen and you just gotta write it. Write just because. Need a bit more of a nudge? Let Penny’s words inspire you.
Penny Kittle writes in Write Beside Them (yep, I’m still referencing this book — it is one of those books that is influencing me as an educator, person, and writer. I’ll be recommending it for years to come — it’s that powerful):
I begin by trusting my students. I write stories from my past and expect them to respect me and listen with compassion. I write about school and growing up — universal themes they can connect to. I write what I know and remember. I write about things that wake me up in the night. I show my students why I write. I’m not just writing to create something as a model in the genre; I’m writing for me. There is a palpable difference (103, emphasis mine).
Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.