Two years ago there was a particularly engaged and talented student in my writer’s circle group. She has been submitting writing samples to me on and off since I had her attend our weekly sessions. She would send a sample and I would read, comment, and suggest in a very timely fashion – usually, right away. Last fall, she sent another sample. Although I wrote her explaining I was having a health problem and would not be able to respond right away, I did. I must have figured that I should not put off what I could get done immediately. So, I read her sample – the beginning of a novel – and sent my remarks for her to consider.
However, when I received the sample last fall, something was different. Instead of just seeking feedback from me, I noticed that the student also sought feedback from her teachers and the librarian. This was noted when I saw she had sent the piece via google docs and their emails were listed as recipients. I felt this put both she and I in an awkward spot. I did not have any way of knowing if the piece she was working on was a class assignment or another piece of writing she was working on during her own free time. As a former volunteer group leader, I did not want her to take my suggestions over any of her teachers. Of course, I am not sure this would happen. I just did not want to allow a situation in which it “could” happen. So, I told her that when I returned my comments via my private email, instead of using the google docs sharing format.
Not much happened with that shared document as far as I know. She “rejected” a couple of my suggestions and “accepted” a couple of others. I was able to see her former classroom teachers’ comments which were on par with my own in terms of supportiveness and gentle suggestion. This was possible because both of them responded with the same immediacy I had portrayed. We all obviously cared about supporting the writing talent of this student.
And then, yesterday, out of the blue, I got a new email from this student with the shared document of last fall. She must be working on her story again. I was pleased. She is a talented, albeit, very young writer. As I went over the comments, there were my original suggestions – some accepted, some rejected, and some with comments in return. Then, there were comments from January when she reopened the story. I am not sure I saw these. And finally, the comments from yesterday. This shows that the student author is very persistent and tenacious in her writing. She “sticks with it” over a long period of time. September to May is nine months. Wow!
I find that I am proud, pleased, and privileged to have had this student as part of a writing group in the past. I am even more pleased that she continues to seek guidance and feedback on her writing from others. It is difficult, as a writer, to be open to the opinion of others, but at 10 years of age, this author seems to know it is an essential part of the process. The fact that I have not had personal contact with this student in almost two years and she still seeks me out for feedback amazes me. I can only hope this is because I made an impact on her during our time together. She certainly has made an impact on me with her tenacity! I am so proud!