The Benefits of Being a Teacher Who Writes by Darin Johnston

The benefits of being a teacher who writes by Darin Johnston image

To teach writing, one must be writing.

As a teacher, I take this to heart.

How can I expect my students to write about things, sometimes personal things, if I cannot do the same, allowing myself that same racing heart feeling as I click publish or submit?

Being a teacher who writes allows me to do three things:

  • Connect with my students about the writing process

  • Create a more tight-knit community of writers

  • Inspire students to create more on their own.

As a writer, I go through the same process of writing they do: I need an idea, a source of inspiration to get myself going, a place where I feel comfortable to write, and most of all, knowledge that my voice is being heard.

My students use Kidblog to share their writing, and the first comments they receive from someone other than me are always the best.

  • “Who is this?” (We talk about how our blogs are public.)

  • “How did they find my blog?” (I show them how I tweet out their work.)

  • “Why are they reading it?” (We talk about creating catchy titles.)

My own blog went live in 2011. It was a long time before I got my first comment. When I share my blog with my students, we look at the comments left on posts, where people are from, who’s viewed my writing, and the variety of topics my posts cover.

The process of moving an idea to words is a daunting one for students. Sharing my own experiences as a writer opens