Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sitting Back to Watch

As a teacher, there aren't always a whole lot of opportunities to sit back and watch what my students and I have accomplished, but today was just that: a chance to see how far my kids have come.

This year will be the third year that I have taught Creative Writing at Lanier. When I student taught at Reagan, I watched my mentor teacher teach a Creative Writing class and upon learning that Lanier didn't have one, I started one. I have 21 students that I see every other day for 90 minutes, and we go through writing workshops on poetry, narratives, short stories, you name it. 

Today the kids turned in their writing portfolios: fifteen pieces of writing plus a prologue from each student. The portfolios included both pieces of writing from class and pieces they wrote independently. As a culminating activity, they each chose one piece to share with the class. While a student read, their classmates wrote one constructive comment for the reader, so each writer left with 20 pieces of feedback.

Some of you might remember high school well enough to recall the feeling that you alone have embarrassing insecurities, thoughts, and experiences and how intensely self-conscious adolescents can be. If you do, you will know just how big of a deal it was to watch each one of my students go to the front of the class, put their piece of writing on a projector, and read to their classmates. Not only did some of the kids share some really nice writing, many of them shared really personal thoughts and experiences, which told me that they felt confident enough in themselves and safe enough in my classroom to open up to their peers. It was an incredibly rewarding day.

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