Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This is when I stop and wonder...

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.

And hope.

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.


miruspeg said...

Roban you did not use ONE exclamation mark and it was not necessary because I could feel your passion, your commitment, your love for these children.

There is a song by Daft Punk called "One More Time", a real catchy tune with these words:

"One more time
We're gonna celebrate
Oh yeah, all right
Don't stop the dancing"

I hope your students are able to celebrate or at least be happy with their achievements. I'll be interested to hear if they remember to capitalize the first words of their sentences and put a period at the end!

Well 'music twin' from one skater to the other, take care and enjoy the week.

Peggy xxxx

Mommy2Twinkies-Deb said...

Roban-It is so impressive how caring of a teacher you are and it completely comes through how much you enjoy what you do and the written word. I really hope that when my children are older that they will be blessed with teachers like you.


PS-I'm back, and sorry about the hiatus.

McMGrad89 said...

I hear you. We have such test in March. We just finished a practice one and 8 out of the 10 passed. My students just have the problem of staying on topic - or picking a topic that truly fits the prompt properly. We still have 1 1/2 months until the test. Until then, I will wring my hands and get out my colored pens.

Jen said...

It is fabulous to read this - I can really feel how much you care for your students and want them to be successful. I hope the results meet your expectations.

Mommy2Twinkies-Deb said...

Hi Roban, thanks for your comments about my running in Japan post. I'll write more about it soon, but basically, I was there as a high school exchange student. What a year! It was amazing, and I learned so much.

Glad to be back!

AmpersandPrime said...

You are amazing. I appreciate your dedication and passion SO much. I love what miruspeg said. I too can feel your passion, love, and commitment in these words.

Relyn said...

Oh, I know JUST what you mean. Exactly what you mean. You feel nervous and excited and slightly nauseous - yes?

Anonymous said...

So nice to find your blog through another blogger (Come Sit By My Fire). I teach writing to adults, through community ed as well as privately. My students take my classes for pleasure and personal growth -- so I don't have quite the challenges or responsibility that you have teaching young people.

My writing teachers had such a huge impact on my attitude toward writing and my decision to become a writer. Bless you for being a caring teacher.

Mummy McTavish said...

You are such a passionate teacher. I wish you had been my English teacher at school, perhaps I would have bothered to do more than just pass. The year I had a really passionate teacher I did so well, the other four years of highschool... we wont mention those!

Anonymous said...

i can see your passion for your subject and your joy of teaching here. how i wish we had more teachers like that in our schools here. tomorrow i am taking a workshop for some teachers in a local school. i wonder if i will see this love in them.

Anonymous said...
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MrsPeel said...

I wish I had a literature teacher like you...I would have gone a lot further in life...Paggy is so right, I too could feel that passion, and the commitment...that's what makes life worth living, being part of a world inhabitated by people like you.
Shame you guys are not in huge numbers these days.
That makes me trebbley happy to know you.
(I know that word maybe doesnt exist, but you know what I mean :)