I am of the fervent belief that teachers who write make the best writing teachers. I know I am not alone in this. I follow and collaborate with others who share this view: Two Writing Teachers, started by Stacey Shubitz, TeachWrite, founded by Jennifer Laffin, and Teachers Write, started by Kate Messner. I find inspiration from these amazing people.
I know how busy teachers are; often balancing work and home life responsibilities. It’s not always that easy to commit to writing so I look for ways to make it accessible and inviting. One idea came to me when I noticed my teacher friends writing great posts for Facebook that were humorous or heartfelt and I asked them if they’d be willing to share beyond their circle of friends. I created a blog for teacher writers called Just A Moment where these stories can find a home and other teachers can find inspiration. Some of the works on this site were originally created for the blog, but many others were “recycled” writing teachers had previously created. This approach is another way to encourage teachers to think of themselves as writers.
I try to create writing opportunities that are collegial and supportive. I know writing can be isolating, and sharing can take courage, so we find safety in numbers. We have a group of teachers in my district who get together (infrequently) to write and share. I asked teachers at one of my schools to join in a group poem about the holidays. Contributors each shared a few lines and together we created a poem that we posted in the school. It didn’t take much time, and the collaborative aspect made us each feel more comfortable.
This last week I created a Padlet called Teacher Talk-Poetry Block and invited a number of teachers to create an acrostic poem that spoke to their passion, experiences, or beliefs about teaching and learning. I started with an example and then others joined in. Honestly, I am so inspired by their words but also by their courage. It didn’t take them long, but it did take moxie.
I would love to get more and more poems in this collection, so if you would like to contribute just click on the + in the bottom right corner and add your own acrostic. I will continue to look for ways to make writing more inviting and easy for teachers and I welcome any ideas you may have tried. Let’s support teacher writers-ourselves included!
What’s On My Book Radar?
BE KIND by Pat Zietlow Miller illus by Jen Hill
BE KIND has been a mantra in schools for several years now, but what does that mean for a child. What specific actions can make a difference for others? This book explores that concept in a very tangible and accessible way. I think this book is perfect for young children, but middle grade readers could also read it and contemplate what kindness looks like for themselves and their peers. A GREAT book to stimulate conversation and action. If your school or classroom has focused on the theme “CHOOSE KIND” you should choose BE KIND to support that!