Thursday, March 3, 2016

Making a difference

Day 3 of 31 at TWT!
This is the time of year when it's easy to doubt if you're doing it right. The end of the year, once so far away, suddenly looms closer. Did they grow enough? Will they be ready for the tests? Will they be ready for their classes next year?

Did I do enough of that? What happened to my brilliant plan to try this? (Guess I'll stick that on the 'maybe next year' list!) Should I have pushed that kid harder, been more on top of this one's issues?

When they leave me, will they keep being readers, writers, and learners? Will they be better people?

Luckily, reassurance tends to come just when you need it. And when I checked my email on Tuesday morning, I was surprised to see a sweet thank-you note from a former student I'd recently written a letter of recommendation for. (Even though it's one more thing on my to-do list, I love writing letters of recommendation, especially for students I've had for several years.)

What a perfect way to begin the month of slicing: a reminder not only that writing makes a difference, but that one of the things my students remember most is that I shared my writing life with them. Growing up, I didn't know whether any of my teachers were "amazing" writers, and that's too bad, because some of them probably were. If my students know my writing, if they remember seeing me wrestle with words and ideas, and if they remember how writing was a real part of my life, then they can hold onto the powerful fact that they are writers too. And then, no matter what else I did or didn't do, I've really made a difference.


  1. I love this. And it's why I share writing with kids--not so that they think I'm amazing, but so we have that connection, that writer connection. And we know the struggle...

  2. I'm so glad your students write you just when you need that "pick-me-up." Your passion for your kids makes the difference in their lives.

  3. What an awesome tribute to you as a teacher and as a writer!!

  4. I love that you share your writer self with your students. What an important way to forge relationships with your students!

  5. So glad you received the note, and love that final paragraph, Jennifer. I still remember and appreciate some of my teachers, especially one LA one, but it never occurred to me they might be writers, or that they might write. Your students will remember!

  6. I like how you lead with the questions list and worries. You know kids will remeber reading and writing-- and your passion for both. I love how we get unexpected answers about what worries us. Lucky students to have such a caring and passionate teacher writer!


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