The most important tip I can share about writing is this: write when your students write.
When students see us open our own notebook, they notice.
When they see our writing take shape upon the page as it is projected in front of them, they notice.
When they see us stop and think aloud and reread our words and make changes, they will try that, too. It sounds so simple if you are a writer. For those teachers who don’t see themselves as writers, please try this. It works.
How many times have I looked up across my notebook to see my professor writing stuff of the board out of his notebook. I quickly then try and scribble as much as possible into my own or even during class discussions I try and scribble what other classmates have said in order to get a better picture of what is going on in the story or in the poem. It does work.
A good example of this was the other day in English class, towards the end of class. I was the only one left quickly packing up my things. The reason I was the only one left was because I was writing down the questions, posed by the professor over The Scarlet Letter:
1. Is there a hero in this book?
2. Do we have a clear picture of the book’s religious vision yet?
3. We find out when the book is set around 1640-1648. Why does Hawthorne write about something 200 years before his time?
Some how in the last year, I have become a writer. No, I am not perfect at it. I do not really understand grammar, poetry, or even the style of writing. Yet, some how I am drawn to it. Today, during class, the group I have been working with referred to me as the scribe. A role, that I have been given in the past. The reason, I hate to share this, if you get to be the writer you don’t have to talk. Talking in front of the class is something that I don’t want to do. It makes me nervous, uncomfortable, I am not giving the correct answer, or that it is sounds stupid. It takes me a while to feel comfortable in the class room with new people. I know my professor is waiting for me to share. Everyone is waiting for me to share. He and the rest of the world can can continue to wait in till, I am ready, for right now I prefer to write.