Last Monday brought the launch of a new professional learning series entitled Inspiring Reluctant Writers with a group of 30 grade 6, 7, and 8 educators. Before the day arrived, I admit I fought a daily battle of self-doubts and what ifs: what if they don’t trust my message? what if they don’t get what they came for? what if they resist journeying with me? Without hesitation I share that I read more than write, consume far more than I create. I asked participants to check in when they entered on a list of ‘Would you Rather’ prompts. Notice the t-chart of read/write in the image. That became the big reveal of the day as almost all of us came to a realization that WE are reluctant writers. Let that sit for a minute. Here we are attending a professional learning series targeting the needs of our students when bam, it becomes painfully clear that we must address our own reluctance first.
Now the day saw us think about our identity, talk about what we had read or viewed, write both independently and collaboratively from our background, but perhaps the most profound learning came outside the room, later. In response to YEARS of knowing that a powerful platform for reflection is blogging, I challenged each participant to capture their reflections of the day in a blog. I advocated that we might learn a lot about ourselves across this series by using that platform to track our writing journey. What better way to re-ignite a writing life than to commit our thinking to a page that can be shared publicly; ‘putting it out there,’ as it were. Indeed, I wondered whether one could convince a group of educators who were reluctant writers to try blogging. It was a gamble.
After just a few days I am overwhelmingly convinced and grateful. These teachers have embraced their vulnerability, taken a risk, and published their first blogs! These bloggers share the struggle, reveal the hesitation, but also feel empowered knowing their ideas are valued enough to be shared. We are building our own little community of writers. We now have the opportunity to read and comment on each others’ reflections between sessions, in addition to the writing we share in sessions. And our audience doesn’t stop there as all these blogs are now public. Imagine the impact of a group of teachers sharing the struggles and rewards of writing for all of us, including our students.
I truly believe that we are our own best teaching tools so that is where we must invest our learning. I’m fortunate to have people come alongside to join me. As we continue this series, I have some wonderings. What if …
- modelling your writing improves your students’ writing?
- engaging in writing nurtures empathy for the process and equips you to offer more effective feedback?
I invite you to visit their blogs to support your fellow brave educators and prove to them that the risk and effort are worth it.