Teachers As Mentor Writers

Just Like You, I'm A Writer

Do your students know you as someone who writes? Do they see you write? If you someone who writes, your students deserve to see your writing in action!  It’s something you need to share. Trust me, writing for and with your students makes a huge difference to the writing your students turn out. 

When a teacher come to be viewed as a writer, the dynamic in the classroom changes. The teacher too faces the challenges that arise in writing. You become a credible mentor. You understand that writing is essentially a problem solving process. Your actions around writing validate it as something pursuing. You can share writing craft secrets with these curious learners. You have made a definitive statement. Just like you, I am writer.

If your students keep a writer’s notebook, then you should have one too, Share with your students some of your entries This will enable you to confidently discuss your writing process. They will have questions for you about where and when the writing idea was sparked. 

Being a mentor to your students begins right here. Ralph Fletcher in his latest book, ’Pyrotechnics on the Page- Playful Craft That Sparks Writing’ writes,  ‘Keeping a writer’s notebook is like dragging  wide net through the world.’ Your notebook entries show your students one writer's ‘catch.’ - the myriad observations, memories and thoughts a life presents.

This sharing allows you to show how your notebook shapes ideas that might eventually be written about in greater detail. It also allows you to show them how you keep a writer's notebook with you at all times.-how it becomes an extension of you, the writing and reading teacher. Such an approach will enable you to teach your students the very important message that writing ideas don’t just visit you inside a classroom. They arrive from everywhere. You just have to be ready to catch them.

Writing alongside your students makes you a partner in learning. Your writing program has thus gained the potential to reach a higher level of excellence. Writing with your students can mean the difference between being an okay writing teacher and an exemplary writing teacher. It’s far more powerful to find yourself living inside the writing community you are trying to create.

If you want your students to write in a particular way, show them examples that you've written. Talk about your pre-writing behaviours. Talk about where you struggled while writing; where you felt your writing really worked well, and where you captured your ideas most effectively. This is curriculum. This is a resource.This is valuable teaching! There is so much here for the developing writer to take away.

If you ask students to share their notebook entries, be prepared to share yours. The entries you share don't have to be written during that day's writing lesson.  If your students know you value your own writing, then you can reasonably expect them to value theirs. –and isn’t that one of our teaching goals?

'A highly visible reading and writing life is an essential part of being an effective teacher.’
Igniting Writing- When A Teacher Writes, Alan j Wright 


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