listening to all the writers at the national book festival yesterday i found myself thinking back on my first year teaching. i'd never heard of writing workshop, lucy calkins, or reggie routman in undergrad so when the idea of writing with first graders every day was presented to me i embraced it as though it was gold. we had frequent writing celebrations, spent time studying our favorite authors, and most importantly, wrote every single day.
one day the guidance counselor came in to talk to my class about a problem the school was having. i wasn't teaching at the think tank yet, but at a school just down the road. some students were spending their lunch hours covering the boys bathroom with graffiti, and the principal wanted to get to the bottom of it fast. the guidance counselor came around to give every class lessons about respecting school property.
she opened the lesson by asking my class why they thought anyone would write on the bathroom walls.
one of my little ones blurted out "because they came in late and missed writing workshop that day!"
the guidance counselor stared at my friend and then at me.
yeah, we really like writing workshop here. was all i could mumble being a first year teacher and all.
i love that:
1) he clearly thought writing was so important it must happen, even if it was on the bathroom stall.
2) the reason the child needed to write was because he came to school late. clearly writing workshop was happening in his room every day, because we all write every day.
3) the writer was not an angry student, but just a writer needing a place to compose.
if i taught them nothing else, at least they knew writing workshop was important.
looking back i really hope i did a quick lesson on how we always, always write on paper and never on the bathroom stall.
oops. that's what first years are for, right?