I am a writer. These are three words that I would never have used in regards to myself until a few years ago. Now they are words that I live by. I am a writer. I write for many different purposes, but my favorite writing is for myself.
In my classroom, I have chosen to let students write for themselves. If my favorite writing is for myself, then they need to have the opportunity to do the same. After a five-week writer’s workshop where we gathered and collected ideas and chose a piece to bring to publication, I thought I’d check in with them to see how they viewed themselves as a writer.
I posed the questions, “What is a writer?” and “What does it take to become a writer?” and “Are you a writer?” to my fifth graders. Their answers encompassed what being a writer is.
“A writer needs to have an imagination that can carry a reader to a different world.”
“Writing comes from inside of you.”
“I am a writer because I am unique and I use characters to show different perspectives.”
“It takes guts to be a writer.”
“It takes passion and enthusiasm to become a writer. You have to have perseverance.”
“I love sharing what I imagine and think on paper.”
“You don’t have to be excellent, but you can impress and amaze people with your writing.”
Of course, some didn’t think they were writers and one even wrote, “I write because my teacher told me to and I have to do whatever she says because she is basically the boss and in charge.”
While it made me smile because I can hear this student’s voice through his writing, I also know that he is a writer. Now, it’s my job to help him and the others who answered similarly realize it.
Sara Pommarane is a fifth-grade teacher in Laramie, WY. She is in her 14th year of teaching and her first group of Kindergarteners are graduating from high school in May! Sara received her National Board Certification in Literacy in 2018. She is married to a fellow educator and has two children. Sara loves all things reading and writing. You will often find her family fishing and her nearby with her nose in a book and her writer’s notebook not far away. You can follow her on Twitter @SaraPomm or through WyoWrites @wyowriting.