You really DO learn something new every day

At the beginning of the semester, when we were asked to write about our roles as writers as teachers. I didn’t think that being a writer was a part of being an English teacher. My outlook was that my students would be the writers, and I would be the enlightener of knowledge and grader of papers. But being a writer is a quintessential part of being an English teacher. Here’s how I have come to know that during the semester:

1. The book we just read about writing outside of your comfort zone.

– That we need to be familiar (if not proficient at) writing in multiple genres, so that we can help our students write prolifically in multiple genres.

– We as both teachers and writers need to boost our students’ confidence in their own writing. If we know what the writing process is like, we can help make our students comfortable as they make their way into the unfamiliar.

– English teachers need to provide their students with resources and samples of whatever piece of writing we are asking them to do. At least that is the gist that I get so far in my education career. Without a writer’s background, it would be hard for us English teachers to give our students a base of what they need to write.

2. Being a facilitator of a poetry workshop

– I have learned that is actually crucial to bring and prepare examples of whatever prompt/exercise/activity you want your “students” to do (I don’t have “students”, I have writers). As English teachers teaching writing courses, these examples will have something to do with writing. Otherwise your students will think that since YOU can’t complete your own prompt/exercise/activity, they shouldn’t have to either. Know that you might not even have to use the samples you bring in, but it is a whole lot better to be prepared than to have to pull something out of your…well, ya know. It isn’t a fun scenario. Always be prepared! Which leads me to my next point…

– If you’re confident in the activity/writing process that you are expecting your students to do – they will be confident too. And vice versa.

– We have to guide our students through rough patches and road blocks in their writing. It is inevitable that some days human beings will have writer’s block, or be confused of the direction of their writing. We’ve all been there. It might have been awhile, but we have. As writers we have to recognize when rough patches occur and give advice and strategies on how to navigate around those – because we are the writing professionals of our classroom.

– It is also a necessity to be a writer in order to give good, constructive, beneficial feedback that your “writers” or “students” will appreciate. If you are a teacher but not a writer, your feedback will mostly consist of good jobs, or, you didn’t quite get the point heres, and our students and writers don’t benefit from broad comments like such. As a writer it is easier to convey what you expect from the students and easier to offer advice on how to enrich their writing.

Luckily, it seems that the majority of us are confident in our skills and value as writers. So I think that we will go out into the world of education and promote fruitful writing in the best way possible among our students.


About Emma Steward

Coloradoan, yogi, future educator, vegetarian, nature lover, fine wine connoisseur of fine wines (Five truths and lie, or is it two...)

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