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An Ode to Teacher-Writers by Kelly Zaky

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In my notebook, there are my scribbles, my doodles, my words.

Pages and pages full of gold, full of fluff, full of MY ‘stuff’!

This mentor text. Those seeds. That golden line.

My whole world, framed in lines.

But what do I do with it all?

Do I dare share?

My thoughts. My dreams.

It may not be at all what it seems.

I am a writer.

I am a teacher.

I am a teacher-writer.

I am not JUST a teacher of writing.

I am a teacher of the ART of writing.

Writing should not be a chore;

An expression; a communication;

a voice one never knew was hidden;

An open door…

It should be a passion, helping young writers evolve...

But if I open my notebook’s door, what will it solve?

Can my writing be a mentor text?

Will it do my students’ writing justice?

Or will it just suffice?

What if my students ask me, “Mrs. Zaky, what’s next?”

And then my notebook opens.

And my words flutter through the air.


In love and war, ALL is fair!

In the classroom, this notebook is my favorite place.

A safe space…

Paper. Pencil marks.Thoughts. Words. Lines. The rhythm of words working together.

Forming a most wonderful song.

Each day in the classroom, I go between Mrs. Zaky and Mrs. Zaky the Teacher-Writer.

Students and teacher, writing alongside one another.

Students and the teacher become one- writing together…

And then I realize...It’s how we belong.

Writing strong.

Writing aloud.

Writing proud.


Kelly Zaky, the teacher-writer, spends her days with 4th graders in Mahwah, NJ. Together they write, read, create and breathe. She is a yoga/meditation teacher, sharing her very sacred practice with many students. A mom of three boys, always finding the small moments to smile upon, and a quiet space to escape the noise. She tweets @MrsZakysclass and Instagrams @reflectionista.

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