I am a firm believer that teachers who write make the best teachers of writing.
Unless you are a writer, you won't know what goes through a writer's mind as they choose their words for the page. How writers play with words to build a certain mood or vary the sentence length to create flow and interest.
Unless you are a teacher who writes, you might not understand how the writing process is not linear, but bounces all over the place. You wouldn't recognize that drafting and revision sometimes happen at the same time and that planning is a continuous process.
If you are not a writer yourself, you wouldn't understand how vulnerable it feels to have someone else read your work. How writing is an act of bravery, words are powerful, and red pens can be very destructive.
If you don't write, you won't know that your students experience, live, and feel these things when they write.
So what does it mean to be a writer? The answer is not as complicated as you might think.
Simply put...you write. You sit down, get out a notebook or your laptop, and start writing your ideas down.
Writers can write anything.
What you write doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't even need to be seen by anyone else. This is not the time to judge yourself as being a "good" or "bad" writer. No one else is.
Also, it is time to stop telling yourself that only people who write books deserve to call themselves "writer". This couldn't be farther from the truth.
To be a writer, you just have to write.
Be advised -- Once you are a writer, teaching writing will seem different to you.
You will have new enthusiasm for teaching writing. Where you may have once dreaded teaching writing, you now make it a non-negotiable part of your daily classroom routine.
Conferring will take on a new feeling. You will sit and talk with your students as one writer talking to another. Providing guidance and goal setting will become more powerful because you know how writers work.
Assessing your students' writing will offer more insights. Instead of having a red pen in your hand and circling every error, you can check for growth from a positive stance, first noticing what your student is doing well instead of wrong. You will be able to plan future instruction based on what you see, not what a book tells you to teach next.
As a writer, you will come to understand how writers think. You will help the student who is unmotivated learn to brainstorm ideas of interest. For the student who gets stuck, you will offer a strategy how writers problem solve to move forward.
You will be able to do all of this and more because
YOU are a teacher who writes.
Ready to become a teacher-writer, but don't know where to start? Check back next Wednesday when we will explore this topic and give you lots of tips for getting started. Sign up here or on the sidebar to join our email list so you don't miss it!
Teach Write offers coaching and professional development services to help you grow your writing habit and/or become a stronger teacher of writers.
Packages are available for both the individual teacher and entire schools, either in-person or virtually.
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