Only one post into my blog and I can already say I’ve learned something.
I worked on my blog for about two weeks before finally hitting the publish key. Not steadily, mind you, but off and on, tweaking this and that. I knew what I wanted to write about the moment I started working on it, but I was concerned with what to call my blog, how it should look, what picture I should use, who should be in the blogroll, how best to link to sites, how to install a badge, you get the idea.
The point is I had something to say, but I took every opportunity not to put it out there. I faffed around acting like I was making important decisions when, I was just wasting time. I focused on the unimportant details so I wouldn’t have to take the risk of putting my thoughts out there…after all, someone may not like them.
And I’m a good writer.
How hard it is for students to do this in my class? Especially students who feel they aren’t good writers. Especially for the kids who have something intensely personal to say and don’t have the language yet to know how to say it. Especially for students who have been in a pull-out or remedial class and fed into the idea that even if they did have something interesting to say, they couldn’t possibly be expected to say it correctly.
I have seen these kids in my room. They are the ones who will draw and erase the circles and lines on their page until their web is graphically perfect, but never actually put anything in it. They are the ones who throw out ten sheets of paper in one class, because they can’t get their opening sentence just right and are in a constant state of starting over. They are the ones who sharpen their pencil down to a nub only to have it break again and again.
These avoiders bug me. Or I should say bugged me. I admit, while sometimes I have been merciful, other times I have become frustrated and said things like, “just write something…anything.” But here I am, one of them. Just writing something isn’t always easy not because of ability, but because of emotions. They aren’t refusing to work; they are refusing to take a risk. If I have something important to say, and others don’t find it important, what does that say about me?
If I, as a person confident in my writing, can’t put something out their without stress, without worry, how can I expect my students to?