Monday, July 20, 2015

Living Like a Writer

It has been a long break since April 7th (my last post). I have enjoyed the break, but it is time to write. I was extremely blessed this summer with the opportunity to attend the Writing Institute at the Teacher's College at Columbia University this summer. Learning from Lucy Caulkins is a little intimidating (kidding it is a lot intimidating), I must admit, and there was A LOT to learn about how best to teach writing! My plan is to share some of my take aways as I continue to process all that I learned over that week.

Look how happy Lucy looks to be taking a pic with me!

One of my big take aways from the week was the challenge to write every day. If we are going to ask our students to write daily, then we need to live the life of a writer along with them. Wow! Every day? I mean I know I ask my kids to do that, but they have to write, they will be tested at the end of the year. Why should I write? I already know how to essays. I did graduate from college. Hello!! So I've battled with this idea since I returned from New York. And then... like always... I began to reflect on just exactly how so many of my students have felt over the years when I have asked them to do this very thing... write every day. Suddenly I got it. It is scary and sometimes inconvenient and I don't have an awesome writing idea every day and some days I am super busy and... oh... I get it... They need me to be a living exemplar of how it is to live as a writer (and a reader for that matter). I need to model for them what it is like to grapple with all the obstacles to writing rather than just tell them about it and how it can be done. I need to be vulnerable for their benefit. 

My small group instructor, Emily Strang Campbell, was outstanding. She ran our Writer's Workshop in a way that you couldn't help but come out a better writer (yes, we had to write every day). She kept revisiting Lucy's challenge to write every day. She talked about how good it will be for my students to see me in that struggle as a writer and to show them that it happens to everyone, not just 9 and 10 year olds. But it is also going to be important to share with them the celebrations of a piece I am proud of writing. 

Sweet Emily!!

So I decided that there is no time like the present to get back in the saddle. I will be looking for those moments to share. Unlike the Slice of Life Challenge (which I TOTALLY recommend) this journey won't be shared on Facebook after today, so if you want to follow along in the process of trying to live like a writer, follow my blog and share your feedback!! I would love to hear from you. Wish me luck in sharing my vulnerability while living like a writer!

Tara Reed