believe in my students, their honesty, and the power of their writing. Recently, we have read a plethora of your essays and have discussed many different issues. The skaters loved the article by Tony Hawk. Others were inspired by listening to Jackie Robinson speak of his historic influence on race in professional sports. Students of all interests were able to find something they related to–religion, bias, equality, etc. I took a risk and let students write about anything they were passionate about,anything they believed in, and submit it to your webstie. I was nervous. I wanted every essay to be picture perfect, devoid of any grammatical mistakes. I was nervous that a student might be politically incorrect.
But, I believed in my students.
If you provide an environment that is condusive to risk, one in which you reward the writing process, you will be amazed by what students will share, what they need to share. My students have made me beyond proud–they have humbled me. As of today, four of my students have been published on your website–one who believes in the power of one person making a difference, one who believes in living in the moment( this from a girl who lost her dad to a heart attack last year), one who believes in respecting all others, and one who believes that time spent alone is valuable. I am proud of my students. I am grateful they have had a chance to know their voices can be heard. How wonderful to be recognized at the age of thirteen or fourteen. To know they can be a published author!! Years ago, I had a student published in the editorial section of the Oregonian. She wrote of how the media focuses on what harm some teenagers do, but rarely focuses on the overwhemling majority of kids who make the right choices.
This is true of my students. All kids can make the right choice. All kids want to make the right choice. Let them write. Let them teach you as much as you teach them.
I believe in teaching, I believe in my student’s writing, I believe in them.