When I look at the past few courses I’ve had on writing, it makes it really difficult to think about what exactly I’ve learned. The first thing that comes to mind is just how much I feel like I’ve grown as a writer myself, and also as a teacher. I won’t say that I’ve grown as a teacher of writing, because I definitely not a writing teacher to start. I will say that I have grown into a writing teacher. I did not see how, as technically a biology teacher, I would ever incorporate writing into my curriculum, and honestly, I wasn’t really concerned with it. I looked at the impending writing courses as requirements for this program, and not much more. Now, I can see how very wrong I was. I learned that writing in my classroom is truly beneficial and dare I say… fun! I’ve learned so much in terms of how to write. Not mechanically obviously, but how to decide what to write, how to encourage students to write, how to model writing, and how to write across the curricula. I’ve learned that writing doesn’t always mean scholarly essays. I’ve learned that poetry doesn’t have to be something so deep no one understands it, or have a rhyme scheme that would make Dr. Seuss envious. I’ve learned that I can successfully incorporate more genres than I care to list in a high school biology classroom, and equally as important, I’ve learned that this writing is enjoyed by students and truly enhances their learning. It was fun and exciting to create writing opportunities for my students. See my final paper here (FinalPaperBuchholz) to read more on my study of using multigenre writing in my biology classroom.
Looking forward, I am simply excited to implement more writing into my classroom. I felt like I created several really great writing opportunities for my students so I look forward to expanding even further. I also want to expand these opportunities beyond my honors students to my regular biology students. I think this will be a wonderful opportunity to show these students, who are likely more reluctant writers in general, the benefits of multigenre writing in the content area, and more specifically in biology. I want to commit to sharing these strategies with my colleagues and to encourage them to implement more writing in their classes as well. I feel this would do nothing but benefit students in any content area and at any achievement level. An increase in their writing would most definitely increase their reading abilities, which would help everyone involved, but especially the students. I think by sharing my successes, struggles, questions, and research, I have the potential to be a teacher-leader in writing instruction across all grades and curricula. I think by showing teachers my thought process, my steps to implementation, and how research supports what I have accomplished this semester, it would be more likely to get gears in their brains going as to how they could also implement more frequent and diverse writing opportunities. I truly believe my colleagues would be interested to see that I was able to effectively implement writing into what I was already teaching, and how it generated creativity and humor, all while seeing students self-motivated to research our content further. It’s important for all to see that my students were motivated, exciting, and willing to write, and on multiple occasions, even asking to turn it in after class simply because they wanted more time to write! All in all I am very happy with my choice of study for the semester. It really opened my eyes to possibilities for my students and that any teacher can, in fact, be a writing teacher. All teachers should, in fact, be writing teachers. Thanks for a great semester everyone!