The Big Picture Series: Teacher as Writer

“If you are not a writer, you will not understand the difficulties of writing. If you are not a writer, you will not know the fears and hopes of the writers you teach.”
— Mem Fox

Interpretation of the Quote:
Right before Winter Recess, I gave three of my students a printout that included the URL of this blog. They knew it existed, but they’d never been on it. When asked why I was giving it to them, I responded, “So I can prove to you that I write each and every day… even when I’m under the weather or have a lot of work to do: I make the time to write.”
I received a couple of odd glances followed by, “I’ll be checking it over vacation. I’ll be checking to see if you’re writing every day.”
“Go right ahead,” I replied. “The only days I do not post something are when there’s a religious holiday or I am without an internet connection.” (I explained that I write in my notebook on the latter.)
“Really?” the three students asked in unison.
“Really,” I replied matter-of-factly.
If I wasn’t a teacher-writer, then I wouldn’t understand what kinds of things would get in the way of writing daily. In fact, if I wasn’t a writer, then I wouldn’t understand the fear that one has when putting the pen to the page when the brain feels empty and devoid of anything meaningful to write. But I am a writer, so I do know what these things feel like, which is why I have the chutzpah to challenge my students to read this blog each and every day. I have nothing to hide from them. In fact, if they read my writing in this forum, then perhaps they’ll see yet another purpose for writing beyond helping oneself.

Figure out what gets in the way of you writing regularly. Once you figure it out, grab your agenda, lesson plan book, or PDA, and schedule 10 – 20 minutes of writing time per day for yourself. Treat this time as if it were a doctor’s appointment or a visit to a manicurist. Turn off your phone. Unplug from your email. Set aside this time to just drop everything and write.

Reflective Journal:
Some questions to answer:

  • What is standing in the way of you writing regularly?
  • How will you make sure you drop everything and write during the times you’ve blocked-off daily?
  • Extra Resources:

  • Author: A True Story by Helen Lester
  • How Writers Work: Finding a Process That Works for You by Ralph Fletcher