How would you write if you wrote bravely? Dr. Ellington asked the class this question last Wednesday, and it has been weighing in on my mind since then. After she asked, she had the class do a quick write. Only one person was willing to share what they had written. The rest of us showed what it looked liked to write without bravery.
I had to smile. I had indeed been brave in my writing, it was just the sharing part…
I thought about my high school classes. No matter what level of confidence I had in my writing, I was hardly ever brave enough to share my piece. I waited in fear until the time had passed, avoiding eye contact with anyone who might ask me to read my work.
It is so easy to assume that students are willing to share. It is easy to assume they feel no risk in sharing. What I realized this week is that writing is never that simple. When I write, no matter the topic, I have placed myself into the piece. I am the words. I am the ideas on the page. Sharing means people can see these, they can form opinions, and those opinions might hurt.
I learned that I need to be sensitive to the worries of students. If I as the teacher am nervous to share work, then I can only imagine the anxiety of the students.
This week, I learned that I need to throw my fears out the window. I’m going to be brave, dangit! That was my mantra when I was writing my Slice of Life blog post. It’s so incredibly difficult to present writing that makes me seem incomplete. My journal response to Dr. Ellington was: “If I wrote bravely, I would write how I feel.” It took me four days of writing to even approach how I actually felt. It took a whole day of convincing myself not to scrap it and post something else.
This week, I learned that being a brave writer means writing how I feel.
With all of this in mind, I dove into the blog posts assigned for reading this week. It’s incredible how everything is so different, but pieces of it all fit together into something I want to become. I’ve been reading “The Greatest Catch” by Penny Kittle, and in all three of the blog posts I read, I found a glimmer of commonality.
All of these teachers care so deeply about their students. They are a better teacher for it. I’ve been crying tears over the affection Penny Kittle gives to her students. I’ve laughed to myself over the sweet stories and the break-through moments. It takes bravery to love. It takes bravery to purposely and intentionality pour into students.
After this week, I will continue pushing myself to share the hard things, and pushing myself to love each and every single one of my students. I want to be a brave writer, and an even braver teacher.