Wednesday, May 30, 2018
I’ve Noticed Writing Makes Me a Better Teacher by Andrea Marshbank
“It’s too hard.”
“I can’t think of anything to say.”
“I’m just not a writer.”
These are the comments I hear when my students are faced with writing. I’m not alone. From elementary to secondary, all teachers have encountered distraught students who felt defeated when their writing did not come easily.
Unsurprisingly, the challenges of writing are not limited to students. I’ve noticed that even I have similar moments of doubt when I begin my writing process. Frustration can plague me to the point that I strongly consider simply shutting my laptop and walking away. Usually, I can find the strength to persevere. And the next day, after I have experienced the same irritation with my writing that my students are encountering, I can talk to them honestly about the difficulties of the writing process.
We share a common experience: Writing is hard.
In the process of sharing the struggle of writing, we also work past it. The conversation changes: “It’s okay that the words aren’t coming easily, that’s something Ms. Marshbank deals with, too.” Well, perhaps my students don’t say exactly that, but they certainly think it.
When I’m writing, I’m a better teacher of writing. Not because I’m a ‘good’ writer or because my curriculum is special or because I’m doing anything different—but because I am empathetic towards my students as they figure out how tough it is to get words on paper.
Andrea Marshbank is a ninth grade English teacher in Kansas. She is a Teacher Consultant for the National Writing Project, a Kansas Horizon Award Nominee, and a blended learning educator. Her students are writers, readers, and leaders. Follow her on Twitter at @msmarshbank and read her blog at TheMarshbankClassroom.com.
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