A Writing Teacher

I’ve been giving quite a bit of attention to my little feathered friend lately, but now I feel it’s time to go back to some basics. My school has been back in session for a little over six weeks now, giving me time to evaluate how my own work writing has affected my ability to teach writing. Last year, I was a Writing Teacher. This year, I’m a writing Teacher. It is a big difference.

Practicing What I Preach

I certainly wrote plenty of papers in college. I write reports for work. I write letters of recommendation. I write exams and worksheets. None of that is the same as sitting in front of a blank screen with a post to get out and no ideas– or pulling up a prompt from The Daily Post and experiencing pure dread as I experience no feeling of affinity for the topic I’ve sworn to write on. I signed up for the WordPress Writing 101 class through Spontaneous Whimsy, and one of their assignments was to focus on the length of the prompt. Since I tend to write long prompt, I took on the challenge of writing laptopa 100 word prompt. I almost gave up several times. In the end, though, I was proud of the account I had written of my first meeting with my husband in Love at First Sight. After completing this, I even realized that I had written a narrative, something else that I struggle with. Now, when I tell my students that they need to just press on with a difficult assignment, I can give them my own example.  On one assignment, my first reaction was, “I don’t think so.” I immediately reminded myself that I wouldn’t tolerate that reaction from my students, so I needed to get it together and start writing.” I did, and again, I ended up with something I rather liked in the end.

Gaining Perspective

student writingAnother valuable lesson I’ve gained from my own writing is remembering just how much effort goes into writing. I spent over three hours on a 400 word post–just for fun, so the next time I assign a 500 word paper for my students, I will remember that they are beginning writers. I think in the past, I may have been a bit cavalier with my students’ time. My own writing has provided a much-needed reminder that writing is work, even when you love it.

Connections

handshakeI have also made many wonderful and valuable connections as I write on my various blogs. Yesterday for example, I connected with a professional editor, John Adamus, via his post on author Chuck Wendig’s blog TerribleMinds, which I follow. His discussion of the editing process in Why Editing (by an Editor Who Isn’t You) Matters mirrored what I had told my students in class just that day. I reached out to him to get permission to re-post some of the information for my students on the classroom blog. He and Mr. Wendig both graciously agreed. My students now have access to a different point of view. “Hey, maybe Mrs. Rains isn’t just making all that stuff up after all!”

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6 thoughts on “A Writing Teacher

  1. Hello Tracey,

    This is such a wonderful post and it will inspire many writing teachers and students!
    Your pictures are always so charming!
    The realization is very different from intellectual understanding and it’s what you so eloquently make clear in this post.

    Thanks for sharing it. Have a lovely Friday.

    Love and light ❤
    Anand 🙂

    P. S. I didn't miss much on "Socrates Underground?" Did I?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anand, Thank you so much! You’re so right that an intellectual understanding of something is so different from that which comes from experience. I’m glad I was able to make that clear.
      Love and light in return!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Good catch, Dolphin! I believe he was going for “I will ask the writers what they want to do…” in his final draft, but he didn’t get the full edit down. He had apparently started out writing in the second person (I will ask you what you want to do, realized he needed to change it and missed part of the edit!)

      Shame on him and me too! I just read it as it should have been, and not as it was. But it’s actually poor editing, not poor grammar per se, I think.

      Like

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