EAL · notebooks · writer's notebook

Wait Time

There have been many times I have had to hang on to patience, hold my breath, and wait. I have had students that do not hesitate to jump into writing and others, not so quick to jump. When our invitations to write are not always quickly accepted or at times declined, waiting for a student to begin can be hard.

Sometimes our conferences do not help much to speed up the process of a growing writer. However, I have found that when we give students a little extra space, independence, and time, they will often step into the role of a writer on their own. This is a process that requires us to hold on to patience and allow students time.

Writing does not always grow the way we expect, plan, or hope for a student. Sometimes, we simply need to wait. There are many different ways we can find ourselves waiting.

We can wait through the illustrations.

We can wait through the hiding out under a table.

We can even wait though students discovering their own beautiful topics and passions… sometimes in additional languages.

Wait time can sometimes be painful for teachers. Busy schedules and interruptions can cause us to want to rush through what students need most… time. But just as we cannot force a flower to bloom before it is ready, we cannot force writing to happen before our students are ready. It is a process. It is their process, not ours.

If we build an environment where students can thrive and grow within a supportive writing community, they will. Our work is to research, meet them where they are, and help them grow.

According to Psychology Notes HQ, “Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, developed a theory of cognitive development known as the Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development in the early twentieth century.

The main assertion of the Vygotsky theory is that the cognitive development of children is advanced through social interaction with other people, particularly those who are more skilled. In other words, Vygotsky believed that social learning comes before cognitive development, and that children construct knowledge actively.” Students need time to process.

Take a deep, deep breath and wait. Writers process writing. Students need guidance, time to start, adjust, and try again.

What do we do when kids aren’t writing? We find what drives them, what they love to write about, cheer for them, and challenge them. We teach them to find their voice. We work to believe in them until they begin to believe in themselves.

We wait. We confer. We leave them to work on it.

Sometimes growing writers can feel like an eternal struggle. If we take time to stop and think about why we rush, we will find that nothing is more important than to watch them grow when they are ready.

2 thoughts on “Wait Time

  1. This is a beautiful post that I will copy, reread, share and treasure. I love the tips…support the child by creating a thriving writing community and let that child beca part of it while you nurture and support him, rather than push.


  2. What a critical part if the workshop, and possibly the hardest for us on the impatient spectrum to step back and wait to happen!! You are right, it’s not gonna happen before it happens. Love the realistic solutions you propose. There is no other way to get there!


Comments are closed.