Thank you to all of you who support your children's writing. I feel so blessed to teach writing and to have writing as one of my most natural methods of self-expression.
I have an overflowing plastic tub of journals. My 6th grade teacher encouraged my writing, and ever since, I have been filling journal after journal. I love reading my old journals... I discover that in 6th grade, spending time with my family was important to me. In 7th grade, I loved school and had good friends. In 8th grade, enter insecurities, zits, phone fear, and friend troubles. Then come the high school passions and struggles, college boyfriends, a year teaching English in Japan, religious/spiritual reckoning, job hunting and apartment hunting, grad school, beginning my teaching career, getting married, losing a baby, having two healthy babies, teaching part time, quitting teaching, getting divorced, starting all over...its all in my journals, the highs and lows, along with inspiring quotes from books, compelling newspaper clippings, and occasional photos. Writing has helped me live more fully and understand myself better.
I offer writing to my students as a form of expression for them to make their own. Some of them love writing from their life. Some are passionate about fiction. Others haven't found their voice yet...aren't sure writing is for them. But tentatively, they give it a shot. Hooray for their bravery. Writing is about more than punctuation and spelling, about more that the "6 traits" teachers are trained to score. There is a place for all that, but first we must honor that writing is really about communicating. What do you think? What do you feel? Where does your imagination take you? Put the pencil to paper, and you may discover that the words take on a life of their own. The writer is creator and follower simultaneously. And when we are invested in communicating, suddenly punctuation, spelling, and the "6 traits" become worth the effort to learn.
Writing is an adventure. Writing with others is exciting. I feel so blessed to teach writing.
Fall 2015 writer's workshops...Here We Come!
Sarah Pemberton is a teacher, a writer, and the founder of Write Now!. Sarah lives in Portland, Oregon with her two daughters.