Haven’t done one of these for awhile…but these words from Katie Wood Ray in her book WRITING WORKSHOP: WORKING THROUGH THE HARD PARTS AND THEY’RE ALL HARD PARTS have been tumbling around in my mind.
It’s funny, but as they’re learning about writing workshops, my teacher education students almost always say at some point in every semester, “But it’s so much more fun for the students to teach writing this way.” They are indignant and unable to understand how a teacher could possibly choose not to have a writing workshop when it’s so much more fun for students than doing language arts exercises from a textbook. And then I have to do my big blowup: “You think teachers have writing workshops because they’refun for students? Is that what you think this is about? If that were true we might as well have them all line dancing! Line dancing is fun!”
I have to help my students understand that teaching writing in a workshop setting is highly theoretical teaching. That’s why we do it — because it’s theoretical. Every aspect of the workshop is set up to support children learning to do what writers really do. The teaching is challenging because what writers do is engage in a complex, multilayered, slippery process to produce texts. The writing itself is very satisfying, even fun at times, but that’s the truth of writing. It’s not some motivational game we set up to keep children’s interest. If that were all we wanted, we would do things that were far less challenging for us as teachers.
Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.