Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why I Write....National Writing Day

Eight years ago the National Council of Teachers of English  (NCTE) began the National Day on Writing in an effort to promote one of the most critical components of literacy....and one that seems to be an increasing struggle in our schools.  The hashtag #WhyIWrite is being used today all across America to share the importance of writing so I thought I would play along. Here is the link: 

The truth is, I love to write.  I don't claim to be good at it, but I like the challenge of it and I like the feeling of looking at a finished product.  There is something that is satisfying in that...a conversation gets lost to memory, but the written word remains.  I write for three primary reasons:  Professional, Personal Communication, and Reflections.

Professionally, my days are spent with countless emails.  Some are informal answers to questions or requests, but others, depending on the audience take on a more formal approach. In addition to the email barrage,  I write a weekly blog/memo to my department and try to make it both informative with a touch of encouragement.  Other professional writing I do as part of my job include writing memorandums, school regulations, presentations for the public, etc.  The style of writing varies and it always satisfying to complete a written project.

Personal Communication takes on all sorts of formats as well.  Sometimes it is an email or through social media, but more importantly, I like to write hand written notes.  I don't do it as much as I should, so here is a written goal to try and improve it.  Recently, I was at my grandmother's and she gave me a shoebox full of cards and pictures that I had made for her over the years.  It was special.  She actually had every thank you note I had written for Christmas or Birthdays or other occasions, as well as letters and notes through the years.  I had no idea they meant so much to her!  In my own garage, I have several boxes of letters from former students or summer camps kids I have taught over the years, as well as a box of letters from my Dad. They all mean the world to me.  Handwritten, personal connections are not as common as they use to be, but they are no less significant.  

Reflections:  For much of my adult life I have kept a reflective journal.  It goes in spurts, sometimes I write on a regular basis for awhile and sometimes it sits idle.  It is generally a mixture of ideas, thoughts, and questions.  Some of them are personal and some are professional, but I have found that taking the time to do this helps me put things in perspective.  

So that is my answer to the "Why I Write" question.  I hope our students find reasons to write and that our teachers encourage them to do so. Our kids should be using both electronic and handwritten forms of writing.  Journals, blogs, research papers, personal narratives, etc. are all types of writing that our kids should experience regularly. Communication in the written form is truly an essential piece to literacy and overall  personal success!  It is truly an example of AUTHENTIC LEARNING.