if all of the hard work will pay off. Today is the big day.... The day my students get to show me and show themselves how they have progressed as writers this year. And, oh, how I've worked them! I see myself through their eyes.... glasses perched on the tip of my nose, imaginary whip in hand as I have them write one more time... as I have them add details one more time... as I have them re-read that sentence to make sure it makes sense... one more time.
Since August, I've graded between 450 and 500 essays. The last batch over the weekend after my students had put pen to paper once again for a practice writing test. And as much as I love to write and enjoy seeing my students mature as writers, I'm ready for the push to be over. I'm ready to redirect our efforts toward literature and poetry. Toward rhythm and rhyme.
I bet you can hear the relief in my voice.
Hope that my students remember what they've learned so far this year as they face the final prompt tomorrow.
Hope that they will capitalize the first words of their sentences and put periods at the end.
Hope that they will craft interesting phrases and call on imagery and figurative language to help them express their thoughts, their ideas.
That they'll know the difference between persuasive and expository.
And that they'll proofread their papers one last time.
I've been reminded more than once that our scores on the writing test don't affect our Adequate Yearly Progress. That they won't hold us back. That I really could get by without grading so many essays each year... without teaching so much about writing. But, you know what? My students will have to pass the 11th-grade writing test to graduate from high school. And I want them to be ready for it.
I want them to face a blank page with confidence and assurance, and then...
I want them to get out their pens and write.