Monday, June 13, 2011

A Moment of Truth Part 2

In my last blog post, I mentioned that after 23 months, I had finally  received a copy of my book in my hand.  This thrilling (and noisy) moment of truth led me to reflect on how this experience could lend itself to lessons that we need to apply into our classrooms... like the importance of trying new things.  Here are a couple of other truths that gained from this experience which I feel should be passed on to our students.

Hard work pays off

Was writing a book easy? Absolutely not. To be honest, at times it was a bit painful trying to find a way to make my voice heard in a clear and concise way that stayed true to the story I was sharing about my students.  I wanted to tell their story, but at times their story almost became an all consuming thing, overwhelming other aspects of my life. There were times where I had to take some days away from the writing in order to find myself. After all, what good would I do my current students if I lost touch with who I was because of my previous students? 

However, as I continued to write and work with my talented editor, Holly, I found that these difficult times rendered the best work I had produced. Through her guidance, I learned not only how to become an author for a broad audience, but also how to better guide my students in their writing. The results were not immediate. It was hard. It was tedious. There were times that I wanted to just throw up my hands and walk away.

In our classrooms, our students experience this same overwhelming feeling of frustration. We all have had those students who don't feel like the work is with the reward. They also just want to throw their hands up and walk away. It is our job to reassure them and guide them. We know from our experience that the hard work does pay off. We see it every day in our classrooms. Just like Holly did for me....she saw the forest when I was lost among the trees. We need to help our students see the forest. 

Time to Share
Even though I had imagined a million times what it would feel like to physically hold my book in my hand, the actual feeling was indescribable. Following quite closely to those feelings, was the feeling of showing my book to others...especially my parents. Even as an adult, it was so wonderful to receive the validation of others who valued what I had done. They realized the large investment of time, energy, sweat, and tears it took to complete this job. 

Think of all of the work and projects that our students complete everyday in our classroom. I'm afraid that so often, we are so strapped for time in our jam packed schedule, we forget to let the students take the time to share their accomplishments with their peers, other faculty members, community members, friends and family. They have tried news things. They have put in all of the hard work, inside and outside of the classroom. By forgoing the time to celebrate and receive that validation, we are missing the key element. Let them enjoy their success, their journey.  With the tech tools of today, it is so simple to let them share their projects with people from around the world. They need to revel in their accomplishments so that they begin to value the importance of hard work and personal growth.

So as we contemplate the beginning of a new school year, let's all keep in mind the importance of passing these truths on to our students. Trying new things, hard work, and having a time to share all play a key element in students learning  valuable skills not only in the classroom, but also in life.

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