Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Teaching me.

"Mrs. Tollerud, can you read this?" 

"Mrs. T., I'm not sure how to end this paragraph, what do you think?"

"I just need a good hook. Mrs. Tollerud, what is going to make people want to read my story?" 

This is a new experience for me...

this business of teaching young writers to write.

As of right now, it's a pretty daunting task if I'm being honest.

If I could just get these kids to always capitalize their "I's" and to stop using texting slang, everything would be great...

or at least this is something that I leave many of our class periods thinking.

But then a day like today happens,

and suddenly, I am reminded of why it is that I am called to teach this tough, yet extremely rewarding, subject of writing..

and why, for me, teaching these young authors to tell their story is so important. 

One of my students came to me, to check in, to see if her paragraph was complete.

We are currently working on writing autobiographies.

And as I have done countless times before, I took her paper in my hands and began to read.

What followed brought unexpected tears to my eyes.

Although the grammar was broken and the words weren't quite as eloquently written down on the paper as I would have hoped, her words, her story, pulled me in.

Those words, her voice, wrapped themselves around my heart, and gave me pause.

I attempted to smile through my tears when I looked up at her.

"Is it ok?, " she softly asked.

All I could do was nod and try to smile through my tears.

This young girl, my ten year old student, had experienced more pain in her short life than I hope to in a lifetime.

Thankfully, I did regain my composure and nodded back to her.

Before she walked away, I managed to eek out, "thank you so much for sharing your story."

In that moment, I knew that any words of encouragement or reassurance I could try to offer would be pointless...

there really were no other words that I could utter other than a simple, "thank you."

These kids are teaching me so much.

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