The free write on Monday really got me thinking about my “star” teacher and what she did that was so spectacular that made me literally want to teach high school English. A star teacher that I had was in my junior and senior year of high school. To say the least, by this time in my high school career I had senioritis BAD! I didn’t want to work hard, I took like 3 senior options and an easy “A” class called team sports. I was un-motivated, high school was not too difficult for me. I had to work hard to get straight A’s but nothing over the top. By this time my main priorities were soccer, basketball and friends. I didn’t really care about high school after that because I had already accepted a scholarship to a school for basketball. This teacher changed something though. And that was that she motivated me to become a teacher myself. She inspired me to work hard (at least in her class) and showed me how to make a difference. One thing that was remarkable was that she made us publish our writing. That literally was an assignment in her class. Each semester our final project was to submit our piece of writing to SOMETHING, whether that be the school newspaper, or another outside source. Well little did I know, I was actually a good writer (somewhat). Both my pieces that were required got published in two different newspaper columns. She then encouraged me to try and publish more. She worked with me before and after school and helped me edit my papers as close to perfection as possible and we would find places to send them in and wait for the results. Months later I got acceptance letters from many journals, online news pages and the high school newspaper. It actually became kind of a hobby of mine. I was so thankful because without her I would have never even thought of doing something like that. That is why I think I have decided that I want to do the same thing in my classes. Here is the thing, I will allow them to do any form of writing that they want, but they have to do it one time, and prove to me that they submitted it. I noticed when participating in it as a student already, that researching the right location for your piece of writing can be a bit challenging. And I can also turn that into more projects for them. While researching place, I can have them reflect on one resource that they found where their writing COULD HAVE gone. I think that it is important for students to utilize sources such as these for many reasons. So I think just researching newspapers, English journals, magazines, children’s books are really useful.
This brings me to another side note that I do want to mention. This requirement that my teacher made us do (and that I at the time dreaded) really built my self confidence and helped me grow as a writer. I know that this is just one thing that wont work for every single student, but I do know that it did work for me. So I think that it is important to make students feel confident about their writing. Although every person can always improve on their writing, confidence helps students creativity, imagination, work ethic and so much more. Some may not get accepted into whatever magazine or journal that they submitted their writing piece into, but to say that they had good enough work too submit is absolutely spectacular. At least in my opinion. [: