As I look back on the last few semesters, I can’t help but think to myself what a difference has been made…a difference with myself, my students, and many other people in my school. We have all come out with something so rewarding that it’s hard to put it into words. Writing….something I didn’t think I could do well, much less teach to my students. One thing that I would say to all teachers that do not feel comfortable with teaching writing is to step back, relax, and have confidence in yourself and the students. With a little guidance and support, the students can soar. I learned that I needed to make my students feel their writing was worthy and was meaningful for everyone that heard their stories. Another thing I would tell all teachers, quit teaching them what to write. Give the students strategies to help them become better writers. Before, I felt like my students had to write a certain way and if they didn’t do it the way I “thought” was correct then it had to be redone. In return, the students disliked writing because what they wrote seemed to not matter. Now, I would take anything a student is writing and I would talk to them about it. I think talking to them about their writing is POWERFUL! I was able to watch my students go from, “Mrs. Dalton, do we really have to write today? I don’t have anything to write about.” to “I really want to share my stories” and “when will we get to our writing time?” I learned that writing is something every single person can do and everyone that works in a school system needs to know that. Parents need to know their child is a writer as well. We are all ready! It’s a process that only gets better with practice. I could write a whole book about the things I experienced and learned as a teacher of writing.
In the future, I would like to continue a writer’s notebook because that is where the students feel like they can express themselves. It’s stories they know that belong to them and only them. I plan to keep doing what I am doing and working more on the components of a writing workshop. I want to make sure I reach out to every student and focus on their needs while giving them ample opportunities to become better writers. I will continue to make sure that I incorporate a writing time EVERY DAY, even if it’s just 15 minutes when the schedule gets hectic. My goals are to start the year off in the right direction, getting the students to enjoy writing. It may take me a while to figure out all of my students but that is my #1 goal. Letting them know I believe in them and that they don’t have to be afraid to write. Hopefully, with mentor texts and a writer’s notebook and making sure we are sharing, they will want to write. I want to commit to always letting my students write and sharing my experiences with my colleagues. I think the only way we will see a change in writing throughout our school, is to share what we have learned and to share the experiences and the differences that have been made. Katie Wood Ray talked about all the things her students knew to do when it came to writing time. She had different places set up around the room for children to experience all types of writing and explore the process. I want to make sure I have all the resources for the students to do the same. I see myself as a teacher leader because I am already sharing with other teachers what I am doing and seeing a difference it makes is what other teachers need to see and hear. It’s about change and how we can make the change, and I want to be a part of that change. WE can be the change!