The Importance of Life Experience

Cordelia - Virgie, Kentucky
Entered on April 2, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The Importance of Life Experience

Life experience is a great way to teach students. I believe that it is important to really get to know our students. A way to do this is to have them write about something they know…. themselves. What a wonderful way to let students share their lives, but we also must be willing to share ours with them. For example, if a student has lost someone dear to him or her, then I can tell him or her about losing someone dear to me, making a connection. A connection might be the key to unlock that child’s willingness to open up and put their feelings on paper. It also would be a great way for students to talk about events or things that have happened in their lives that they don’t feel safe talking about.

It is so important to make our students feel safe in their writing; to know that as a teacher we are not there to pass judgment, but to help. A listening ear or a shoulder to turn to. Erin Gruwell of the Freedom Writers allowed her students to write about their lives and problems they were facing. It took time but eventually they opened up and knew they had someone to trust and who was there to help.

Middle School is such a trying time in the lives of so many children. It is a turning point for some in the wrong direction. We as teachers need to be able to listen and guide them along the right path. This is the main time when students struggle with being a child, playing with toys, moving on to being teenagers. They are pressured by others to try and do things that they normally wouldn’t do. We need to let them know everyone makes mistakes, but we have to be strong enough to admit those mistakes and move on. Always, striving to be better.

Writing is a wonderful way to release and find understanding in events that happen to us. The power of writing is something each person holds; but what he or she does with it, is there own choice. I am not the greatest writer, but as I go along each day I find myself writing more.

My husband passed away in 2004 and I am just now getting to the point that I can write and really talk about it, without getting choked up. It was a tragic time in my life, a time when everything changed. A time for important decisions that would affect the future of my children and myself. Now I have moved on, but writing has been a way for me to express feelings that I had been keeping locked inside. I had a lot of feelings, I needed to let go of, so I could move on and live again. Who would have believed writing could be so powerful.

Teaching writing and the reasons to write are a privilege that can lead to great things. We might have a future novelists right there among us. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know you were the one that gave them the key to unlocking the door to their future as a writer?

In our personal experiences we have several novels and other types of genres, waiting to be released. Looking for the words to say and finding our writing voice is a great undertaking, but in the end a great achievement.