Have you ever had that feeling that no one really understood what you were saying? You know the blank stares, the crossed arms, avoiding eye contact… I got that today and it made me wonder something…can anyone or should I say, can any person teach writing? Can you take a regular Joe off the street, stick him or her in front of some kids and teach writing? I swear I don’t think that is possible… Regular Joe cannot teach writing unless Regular Joe is writing.
If I sound annoyed or frustrated it is only because I taught a PD session on using mentor text and I swear no one knew what I was talking about. Out of a group of 31 participants only 5 raised their hands when I asked how many see themselves as writers or if they love writing. I should have known by this formative assessment that this would not be easy, but alas I am still young and make stupid mistakes. Ugh, I can still hear the voice of the teacher who asked me if the words I showed her would be taught as vocabulary…but that was not the point! The point was to teach students that if they wanted their reader to emphasize certain words, that they could italicize them, but no lightbulb there… Then the discussion with another teacher about whether students had to know what a blueberry was before reading the book…I almost lost it…
I think I see the light now, the participants were not ready to hear about mentor text because they were not reading like writers…yet. I think what they needed was time to write what they wanted to write and to write for real audiences. Oh, I feel as if I made so many heads turn in that PD. I can still feel all the deer in headlights glances…
This is where I wonder and ask, why? Why do I do this? Why do I lug all these materials (chart paper, pens, post it notes) and why do I have to clean up all by myself?

3 responses to “Why?”

  1. Because you are a writer. Because you want to give kids a chance to love writing. Because teachers deserve to learn, too.
    (These are all guesses)
    It takes time to write, time to get better at it.
    Using mentor texts is the most powerful way to instruct and kids can use it the rest of their school careers once they get a handle.
    Using mentir texts is the last thing teachers think of when they teach SUW or other formulas for structure.
    Why did the deer freeze and stare?
    You shined a very bright light – and I’ll bet some will try it and be amazed.
    It is a form of culture shock for some to be back in trainings…classrooms. They did not spend summer breathing writing pd like another person I know.
    Ha ha! Closing thought. Your lesson would have been a problem only if they all already were expert at using mentor text. Wow, then what would you have done???


  2. Thank you for your encouragement Kathi. That was a rough day, I think I am feeling better now although it did take quite a bit of housecleaning to get my head cleared from the experience. I hope all is going well for you.


  3. Kathi Zotovich Avatar
    Kathi Zotovich

    I feel your pain. Don’t give up. Some folks (adult learners included) need to hear your message more than once. Keep the faith! You are making a difference- one writer at a time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

A WordPress.com Website.