“I’m ready to publish my story.”
“Do you think this is done?”
“Can I just re-write my story.”
1 minute into independent writing time, “I reread my story from yesterday. It’s done.”
“I don’t need to fix anything. It’s really good.”
“I made two editing marks in every paragraph of my story so now it’s finished.”
“I changed a word, now can I be done?”
“What do I do now?”
“I really like it.”
“Can I publish?”
“I can’t do anything better.”
When teachers continually hear habitual phrases like these I envision hands thrown in the air and screams of I’M DONE TOO, as they run for the door. It can be frustrating to witness repetitive behaviors when you feel like you’ve already addressed the “I’m done” situation in your classroom. However, like all pesky pests, they can find their way back in and frustration can mount quicker than an ant hill forged by a colony.
Like so many areas of learning, students often feel the only success is at the finish line. Who doesn’t want to get there? As we work with our writers to change this mindset the trickle of fixed thinking can sometimes seep in through the cracks. We just need to be prepared to patch up the holes and move with positivity and forward thinking.
When we are hearing our writers use phrases like this, I think the best thing we can do is reflect on how we respond.
- Are we always saying, “When you’re done you’ve just begun?”
- Do we often limit the opportunity for students to make authentic publishing decisions?
- Is our workshop so linear that each piece has a finish line?
- Do we stifle our students drafting phases with constant schedules?
- Are ideas and half starts never left to live unfinished?
- Is the student work about what we want over the growth of our writers?
If our answers to any of these questions are yes, then it is no surprise our students are left to wonder.
It should make us wonder.
Daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and writer.