What are you celebrating today? Thanks to Ruth Ayers for the Celebrate Link Up.
Over the next week or so of classes, I’ll be asking my students to write their “Writing Autobiography.” I used to ask them to write me their mini autobiographies and, while I loved reading them, it now feels intrusive to ask my students to tell me their life stories right off the bat. I want to build some trust first. Let’s face it: Writing can be brutal. Everyone has gotten negative feedback about their writing, and that can REALLY damage a person’s willingness to give it another shot. On the other hand, we also get praise from audiences who like our writing.
I want my kids to write about the good, the bad, and to start thinking about possibilities.
It’s hard to choose a “slice” today to talk about, since today has been full. Although it is still technically summer vacation for another week, I am working part time (pro bono?) to get a writing center started at my school, I am teaching my adult education class, mentoring a teacher new to our school, preparing two presentations for the beginning of the school year professional development series, and somewhere in there I’m working on a ten day fitness challenge.
As I sat down to work on my agenda for my first mentor/protege meeting, my cat intervened. Continue reading “Intervention: Feline Edition”
My new students file in, not sure of why they’re in my class. It’s not English: it’s an “elective,” but they’re not allowed to drop it. Most of them found me on their schedule without any explanation from anyone (Yay for unpleasant surprises!). They might have heard that my class is for people who can’t read. They might have heard that my class is easy. In any case, there’s confusion and, often, there is anger masking embarrassment. For high schoolers, being in a reading class can be a badge of shame: their eyes dart around the room, looking for a way out.
One of the things they will see as they desperately try to figure out what they’re doing here is an 8×11.5 bright yellow page that says, simply, “Don’t Panic.” Continue reading “The “Don’t Panic” Philosophy of Teaching”