Writing Matters

Today Deb Gaby and I finished leading the third day of a three-day Foundations of Writing Workshop training. At the end, we asked for reflections. Teacher after teacher commented on the impact of adult writing time. In each session, we gave time to write. If we want to learn how to teach writers, it’s not just about compiling lists of mentor texts and possible minilessons, if we want to teach writers, we must be writers ourselves.

I must confess, this is the part of the training that I like the best, while it is also the part which makes me the most nervous. What if the magic doesn’t happen? What if teachers aren’t transformed by the act of putting words on the page? I’m beginning to realize these are irrational thoughts.

Putting words on the page is always powerful. Always.

Of everything I can do to encourage and nudge teachers in the journey of learning to teach writers, the experience that makes the biggest impact is writing themselves. Writing matters because:

  1. We realize it’s not as easy as it seems.
  2. We are changed when we collect our thoughts and share them with others.
  3. We realize how quickly a community is established when people share their writing with one another.
  4. We gain insight in how to talk like a writer.
  5. We understand the vulnerability that comes with putting words on the page.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and just write. If you’re not sure what to write, try putting the story of a student down on the page. I promise you won’t be sorry.