Sunday, October 28, 2007

Motivational Monday

I just finished Carl Anderson's book, How's It Going? this weekend. I was smitten not with the conferencing portion of the book but in the afterward. I recently went and heard Carl speak about conferencing and learned a lot of things. I was taken with his sincerity with students and creating a sense of trust amongst the student writers. In the afterward he really shares this with his reader. Here are some of the things that I found motivational:

"To teach writing well- to confer with student writers well- we must be affected by our students and the details of their lives. That is, we need to fall in love with our students for the first time."
He shares the story of his first year teaching and running into one of his students 11 years later. This brings back his memories of how smitten he was with this community of students. How he discussed their writing incessantly with others. And how he begged for them to let him keep some of their stories, "I wouldn't have to let go completely. I could keep them forever," he says.
He then goes on to add,
"Aurora [a former student] took me back to another lesson about conferring well I learned earlier in my career, and it's this: students need to fall in love with us, too."
This week I wrote a post about my notes that I have left around the classroom. My little M. showed me how it feels to be valued and "loved" by her teacher. This week she wrote during Writer's Workshop, "I love my teacher. My teacher loves me. We love each other." I have been interested in her as a writer, not interested in her writing. She has learned so much more than if I had focused on what I could fix.
This Monday, I want to motivate you to look at your group of kids, whatever grade level they may be and ask yourself, "Do I know them?"
Take a minute to write at least 3 things about each one of them, something that is unique that you will remember, something special. Remember those things as you go into conferencing... how will you change their life as a writer? How will they come away unscathed, and loving you all the more for it?
At the end of the year, will you be wanting more? Will you beg them to keep their writing so that they won't be lost to you forever?


AngelaTIC said...

Wow. Thanks for these words.

Ruth Ayres said...

thanks for the reminder. this is one of my favorite parts of any professional book -- the end to how's it going.