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Students speak about the power of writing

March 7, 2012

I was returning some of last semester’s writing portfolios this week, and I started flipping through the pile. Reading a few positive reviews is a nice motivator in this grind stage of the semester. I want to share a few quotes. My intention is not to brag (well, maybe a little), but mainly to celebrate the effectiveness of the pedagogy I practice, one I learned from teachers and mentors like my parents, my fourth grade teacher Ms. Randolph, and Drs Sally and Huey Crisp. It’s not very complicated: practice charity, love the work, respect and care about the student, have fun, get messy, set them free, provoke storytelling, see them/hear them, revise, revise, revise.

Here’s a few quotes from end-of-semester reflections:

“In all honesty, I underestimated this class. I have learned that despite the fact that I know how to put the paper together and the technical aspects of writing, it takes so much more. It takes time, patience, imagination, and most of all, it takes passion. I have learned to push my comfort zone, putting my thoughts and feelings into words and sentences that make sense to other people. I think my attitude before this class was that writing was solely for the purpose of putting information on paper and then turning it in. Now I realize it is much more than that…”

“…my past writing teachers usually were kind of boring, but I have to admit I have had a lot of fun in this class. Mr. G returned me to that love of writing. He made it enjoyable for me by writing out my adventures… We weren’t just writing about random topics – we got a chance to write about ourselves and learn more about writing at the same time… Mr. Graham taught me to put the reader “right in that moment.”

“I have always liked writing, but I never knew it could be this fun and entertaining in the classroom setting… One of my favorite things about this class was how laid back it was. It was nice to be in a classroom and be able to have a relaxed conversation and have fun. I also liked how Mr. Graham tried to get everybody in the classroom involved, although I am very shy…”

“Mr. Graham taught me to be a better writer and step out of my box. I learned not to worry about what others think about my writing because everyone has their own way of writing. I loved how Mr. Graham thought that way too – he is a very open-minded person. I was also nice that you could talk to him like a normal person. I’m still not crazy enough about writing to make it a career, but I definitely give kudos to all the people who do because it takes a lot of hard work.”

“Mr. Graham made it his personal obligation to turn our regular classroom into a room filled with creative ideas, liveliness, and a certain sense of togetherness that all my other classes seemed to lack… My attitude has changed towards writing in a very positive way. I used to hate it, but now I have developed some liking for it. It is much easier to form a good piece of writing when you approach the project systematically. If I put the essay together step-by-step, it becomes a much more achievable goal… During this class, I have looked within myself to realize that each of us has his or her secrets and stories that no one else knows that are just waiting to explode out of our brains and onto a piece of paper through that puppet attached at the end of our arms that we call a hand.”

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