My first student teaching experience took place in a seventh-grade English classroom during the second half of the school year. The first couple of weeks gave me an opportunity to observe both the teacher and the students participating in various writing activities. One assignment in particular asked the students to choose a topic of interest and write down on paper all the information that they already knew about this subject. A simple assignment, right? Sitting off to one side of the classroom, I decided to attempt the assignment. On the top of my paper I wrote the word "athletics". Under it, I wrote about why I chose the topic, what it meant to me and how it has played a crucial role in my life. Before I knew it, I had covered one and a half pages with information.
When the time was up to stop writing, I looked around the classroom and noticed some of the students appeared a bit confused. The assignment was not a difficult one, not for me anyway. When the teacher began asking students to share what they had written with the class, it was interesting to find that only a...
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...n my life. On that day, I learned that the aspects of knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach it are different indeed, but when they are intertwined, good things can happen.
As a teacher of writing, I realize from my experience already that I need to take a step back and allow my students some room to breathe, some room to think, possibly a model writing and an opportunity to pick up their pencils without any fears or confusion and simply write. They need to believe in their own feelings, their experiences and their own knowledge of the world around them and learn to tap into them. Without this exploration, students will remain stuck sitting with that same blank piece of paper in front of them. As a future teacher of writing, I will explore my writing by working alongside my students. I am simply amazed by what I have learned from this process already.
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