Well I would like to start off this blog declaring my absolute admiration for Nancy Atwell. Not only have I been inspired by her famous “In the Middle” work but now I’m gitty over her workshop reflections. There’s just something about how Atwell is able to convey her struggles, successes, and strategies that makes her so relatable. She is a revolutionist in teaching reading and writing; she is my inspiration.
I was really taken in by Atwell’s expression of “creationist to evolutionist.” Her experiences in teaching led her to realize that she not only teaches but she learns-most importantly from her students. Jeff was a great example of this. He stood his ground and let Atwell know that his drawings were how he knew how to “write” and express himself, which later revealed itself as a learning tactic practiced by seven year olds. Although Jeff was behind with his writing skills, he was still progressing-at his pace, but with support.
Support: key word.
If we as teacher’s expect our students to succeed, we have to be their number one support in the classroom (which may be their number one support in general). We have to support their ideas, creativity, and personal interests. We have to support their freedom in writing. This is what “gets” students to write: freedom.
“Am I doing it right?” Key question.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the direct answer will always be “maybe not so much.” But that’s okay. I know that I cannot seek the direct answer in “Am I doing it right?” but more so see the answer in “are they enjoying it?” and “are they understanding how they’re doing it?” There is no “right” way, there are “many” ways. There are strategies galore in helping students, and each will change based on the individual.
Teaching is a constant evolution of change, just as writing is. The change is what keeps us and our students engaged and entertained. In ending this brief reflection, I would like to praise the letter “E” in realizing how many encouraging words I have used with it.
“Experience” “Example” “Express” “Enjoyment” “Engaged” “Entertained” “Encouraging” “Evolution”