Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!

Life in a high school is a whirlwind, especially as an ELL teacher who is also one of the go-to Spanish speakers in the building. Testing, meetings, subs, unexpected parent drop-ins, medical emergencies... oh, and there's also some teaching and grading in there somewhere. 

Some days, it's not hard to lose sight of what's really important. But luckily, there are also plenty of reminders if you watch closely.


"Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about your reading?" I end the conference with my usual invitation, and B.'s dark eyes light up as he nods.

His lanky body straightens from its usual folded position. "This is the first time in my life I've enjoyed reading!" I grin, and he continues. "I mean, I never liked reading. I'd get in trouble and my dad would make me read a book, but I never liked it. But I like this book! I like the exciting adventure, and I want to know what will happen next!" 


"I put my "one little word" post up again if you want to re-read it as you work." I start to circulate as the kids log into their Chromebooks.

"I don't need to read it again," E. tells me softly. "I remember everything you wrote, because I'm working on the same things."

"I know," I assure her. "And I'm so proud of how hard you are working."


She brought this dress back
from Mexico for my baby!
"I'm so glad you're back!" As I hug P, I make sure my eyes hold a spark that show her that I really mean it. After she missed an extra week of school visiting her mom in Mexico, I am truly excited to see her. And knowing the struggles she's been going through this year, I'm so happy to see a girl who truly looks refreshed and ready to keep fighting.

"I am too!" She's practically bouncing. "I just really like this class. Like, when I get here in the afternoon, I'm like, oh good, I'm finally here!" 

From the way she holds onto problems until she spills them all to me, I already knew that. But it's still nice to hear. 

Growing readers. 
Writing that matters.
Building community.

That's what matters, and I'm so glad that's what anchors every day in my classroom, no matter what else happens.


  1. Yes, yes, yes!! I love this post. I love "Growing readers, writing that matters, building community, love." Those are EXACTLY the things that guide me each day and help me get through all the other yucky things that make teaching a very hard job. Your post was joyful to read!

  2. You are the lifesaver that keeps the kids who are drowning in confusion afloat. What a joy you are to every student! How special is that dress?! You make a difference every day.

  3. Like Elsie said, you are a live saver for so many. Can we clone you?

    BTW: ADORABLE dress!

  4. This is a great post! I have goosebumps at each of these moments you shared. What lucky, lucky kids.

    This line really stood out to me in it's description, btw: His lanky body straightens from its usual folded position.

  5. So fun to hear from the reader who has discovered that for the first time in his life he enjoys reading. Love these glimpses into your classroom of the things that really matter. You rock and your students are so lucky to have you!

  6. I love this! Hold on to those moments. So important. And you rock and your students know it! Awesome.

  7. Jennifer, I love these little stories that are the underpinnings of the love in your classroom. That you value them shows so much. Three special people, three warm stories. And that dress is beautiful! Thanks for taking the time to share!


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