A few years back, our company did a nationwide poll with K-8 teachers about writing. A staggering 87% stated they felt “uncomfortable teaching writing” or there was a “mystery behind teaching writing.”
I wasn’t completely surprised. Every single time I conducted professional development workshops, I would ask teachers about the obstacles they faced teaching writing. The 87% from the poll paralleled the level of feedback I received in those workshops.
Nothing will ever replace “face to face” professional development. I love getting a group of teachers in a room and talking about writing. I love watching their reactions when they have those “ah ha” moments about the writing process. You see, I don’t think PD should be about me lecturing and throwing out theories and what I did in other classrooms. I like to customize PD workshops to fit the literacy needs of a school and show teachers step by step how to implement the writing process in their classrooms. It’s fun. We laugh. We share stories. We meet each other where we are in the fact that “none of us know everything.” I’m considered an expert in this field with an MFA in writing, and I will fully admit that I don’t know everything.
Why not “normalize not knowing everything?”
First and foremost, I want teachers to feel comfortable teaching writing. Essays, text-dependent writing, and creative writing should be a normal part of every subject in school. However, teachers will shy away from writing with their students because of fear. “I don’t want to do it wrong.” “I’m not even sure how to grade it.”
I took all of these concerns and nearly two decades worth of “in the trenches” work and built Weekly Writer. It’s NOT a program. It’s a curriculum resource that teachers can pull from as they need it. My thought was this - Face to Face PD is best, but since I can’t visit every school in the country, let me give you the next best thing.
As a literacy consultant, I wanted to give classroom teachers a resource to have ongoing, consistent, job-embedded professional development. The videos of me teaching take the mystery out the writing process. They put educators at ease and give them the “shot in the arm” they need to write with their students.
Finally, I want to normalize with students that they don’t have to know everything either! A majority of students shut down when they have to write because they feel inferior and literally don’t know how to tackle the writing assignment in front of them. There is an assumption that “children know how to write.” No. We are not born writers. Writing is taught.
Stephen Covey said - “Begin with the end in mind.” If you want your students to write at a high level of confidence and produce quality writing, you have to teach them how to write and give them a process.
If you’re interested in learning more about my professional development workshops or Weekly Writer, I would love to schedule a phone call or a webinar to discuss your literacy needs.
Reach out to me at 646-974-1250 or email me at [email protected]