Morning Writing

5 12 2007

This morning, I am writing with my students as they discover “where writing hides” in their own lives. It’s really a very hard task–to ask an 8th grader to reveal to their classmates the intimate places where their creativity looms is ludicrous. But, after the first person shares, I know that this will be a successful exercise. It only takes one student to open up and reveal himself to his classmates for the entire class to become a community of writers, joined together by this very painful thing called writing.

So as the students compiled their lists of where their writing hides, I made my own up on the board. Making that list went against my teacherly instincts, which tell me to refrain from revealing anything personal to my students. But how can I expect them to share themselves with us if I am reserved? So I take a risk–I write down my list of where writing hides: In the candy wrapper that my student shoves back into his pocket, In the hoodie that I wear every Saturday morning, In my favorite mug from New Hampshire, In my mother’s chocolate cake, In the colored lights of my Christmas tree, In my daughter’s fat feet, In cold mornings before the sun rises…

The students share their places where writing hides: In the clock slowly ticking on the wall, In my teacher’s writing on the board, In the sound of my footsteps going down the hall, In rainy afternoons, In the “Pledge of Allegiance,” Behind my smile… I think this activity has brought us closer together as a writing community. I once heard a teacher describe the profession as a “lonely” one (this is the same guy that warned us not to “lose our souls to the teachers’ lounge”). I think he was right… it is easy to become isolated in your classroom, tucked away all day long. But today, with the kids’ willingness to write and to share their writing with each other and with me, I feel connected, rather than separated from them. I feel more like a teacher, and less like a dictator.




One response

5 12 2007

Thanks, Whit. It is times like this that need to be held close in the heart. Your writing sure did that. =0)

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