As with other educators, I am spending time getting ready for a new school year. Yes, even non-formal educators, such as myself, do this. This morning I revised my garden club membership – permission slip letter for this coming school year. I am hoping for an increased enrollment as this is my second year at the school and I was able to meet the entire student body by having all of the classes plant with me in the school gardens last May. I am not a new face anymore! Hopefully, that will work in my favor.
In addition, I have been thinking a lot about the writer’s circle I used to run at one of my resident district’s elementary schools, We ran for six years and I had six students a year that met with me for enrichment writing projects on a weekly basis. Last year was the first year in six I did not offer the club. But, seen as how last week I met with one of the teachers that used to help me coordinate this for the third grade, writer’s circle and my fondness for the group, as well as the students was revisited. As I told this teacher, I miss having the group greatly, but feel like I made a clean break with the school in which it was offered. I really do not want to go back to old habits, feeling uncomfortable, and vying for a space in which to hold a student group that should have had more value placed on it than it did. And, there we left it. I told her that while I would like to do it again, I just cannot do it in a building that I loved but had become a different place than I once knew. She understood.
Strangely enough, the day after I had this conversation, I received a note out of the blue from a former writer’s circle student! She was in my second to last writer’s circle group and will now be going into sixth grade! (This means I had her two and a half years ago!) She contacted me with the following message:
“I was just looking over this right now! I can see every single mistake.. so many things that I would fix as well! This is really late to reply 🙂 but I just felt like it. I’m looking over all my old writing and I just wanted to thank you for being a patient teacher!”
I was shocked! And, very touched, as you can imagine. Her note was in reference to my comments on google docs about a piece of writing she did in the spring of her third grade year on “Favorite Activities.” This student was a shy and gentle person. For her to feel able to contact me almost three years, thanking me for my patience showed a lot of growth! And, she was reviewing her writing! Wow! I would love to read a piece she’s written recently.
Since late last week, I have been mulling over ways in my mind in which I could still offer a writer’s circle to our community. I would love to foster the love of learning in a non-pressured, non-graded way, that might transform student fear of writing to something more enjoyable. More than that, having the group would allow me to connect with students again.
I have several ideas up my sleeve. I will share them when I can. What do you think?
This post is part of Slice of Life Tuesday, a forum offered by TwoWritingTeachers.org.