Dealing With A Range of Emotions in the Writing Classroom
Emotional response is critically important in writing. It’s part of the total package. Our emotional responses manifest themselves in many ways. Sometimes it's the writer. Sometimes it's the writing. Sometimes it's the way it is taught.
I find myself thinking about some common classroom scenarios and my personal response to such matters:
My heart sings when kids enter classrooms announcing 'I know what I'm going to write about today.' It’s clear evidence of rehearsal in the writers mind.
I find myself disappointed when a teacher doesn't instinctively allow a young writer to hold the pen during an editing conference. Ownership of this task is critical to the developing writer.
I rejoice when a teacher is brave enough to share their personal writing with their students.
I am warmed when a young writer demonstrates a willingness to persist with a writing problem. The inner drive to solve the problem becomes an irresistible force.
I sense a feeling of sadness when a student writer informs me they cannot find any ‘good bits’ in their writing.
I feel a sense of loss when a teacher describes a young writer as lazy or reluctant. The essential question of why the writer is not engaged in writing has not been considered.
I feel a sense of joy and delight when a student finds the central purpose for something they are writing. They connect strongly to a chosen topic. Comfort and confidence rise to the surface for the writer when such ownership of the task kicks in.
I experience a sense of frustration and disappointment when teachers indicate they don’t trust student writers to think of topics and ideas for themselves. It is their justification for using ‘sentence starters’ and the imposition of whole class topics.
I become a little twitchy when teachers take responsibility ‘for fixing up the writing’ and consequently entrench student dependency.
My heart sinks when I see writing pieces displayed and they all begin with the same 'sentence starter.' It reminds me of a string of sausages in a butcher's shop!
I experience a shot of exultation when a student discovers that writing holds something they can revel in.
I feel a sense of trust and connectedness when a fellow writer of any age says, 'Would you like to read my writing?'
I begin to feel anxious when a teacher doesn’t allow sufficient time for young writers to rehearse and plan their writing. When teacher invest time in a range of pre-writing activities it enhances the likelihood of a superior outcome when writing takes place.
I feel fulfilled when I hear young writers sharing their growing knowledge of the writing craft with each other.
I feel reinvigorated when a young writer finds new ideas from reading an older piece of writing.
I feel overjoyed when a young writer having displayed writing stamina, is able to articulate their personal vision for how they want their published work to look.
I'll stop there. I'm feeling a bit emotional...
Not that there's anything wrong with that.