For what feels like many years, I’ve been secretly saddened that my oldest son (who turned 16 yrs. old yesterday) seems to have tried every way possible to avoid writing. As a kid, he said he just didn’t like it. As he got older, he told me hated it (yikes). Many of his earlier classroom experiences were sometimes (I believe, unintentionally) unhelpful. Hopeful though I was, I’d try as much as possible to work with him at home.
I’d be momentarily excited when we’d write side by side, and his stories were immersed in imagination; but, my elation was short lived. He desired not to write for himself. If he did have to write, he’d always ask, “How long does it have to be?” He confessed that he’d scratch out words to add “fluff” to his paper, and despite my best efforts, he just didn’t appear to have the writing “bug.”
And then there was Monday…
On Monday, he went to school and informed me that his History teacher was discussing Pearl Harbor as he was halfway listening. History is his favorite subject, and the one instance in which he relays more details about the content than normal. What he didn’t anticipate was the pop quiz/essay they were required to write.
“Mom, I couldn’t believe he was asking us to write, but I was actually listening and remembered more than I thought. I looked up some extra references on my phone, and I thought about what I had to say. I started it off in an interesting way. I explained reasons why it made sense to me, and it was connected to my illustrations. I wrapped it up really well – and I told him why… Tiva (his best friend) couldn’t believe it came out so well. It didn’t even take me long, Mom. It made sense, and I think it was really good. I got an A, Mom. I got an A. I felt really good about that.“
It is hard for me to express how this melted my heart. After years of trying innovative ideas, “research-based” strategies, and whatever else I could think of, I felt most ineffective as a teacher of writing, because I didn’t know how to get through to my own son. Or so I thought; but, even in his brief recall of what he used to collect his thoughts, support his evidence, structure his content, engage the reader, conclude with a meaningful takeaway – I felt like he was listening. He remembered. He valued it – and…he used it effectively…to even get an A.
I know Monday was his birthday, but I felt like the most treasured gift was mine. I was not the horrible teacher I thought I was who couldn’t help her son with writing. I was the growing teacher, whose writer was reluctant, but listening – and forever beloved.
#priceless #stillcantbelievehewaslistening #gladIdidntstoptrying #teachersteachforalifetime #evenwhentheyretire #cantwaittoseewhathelldonext #Istillhavehope #readersarewriters #andhesareader #morewritingtocome #literacylove #carlamichelle
7 thoughts on “03-18, My Beloved, Reluctant Writer”
What a heartwarming story for a writing teacher! Happy birthday to your son and congratulations to him for receiving an A.
Indeed it is! It was the perfect way to celebrate. Thank you for your kinds words. ~Carla Michelle
Seeing the pride in the picture that leads your slice, I’m pretty sure that (now) he knows he’s a writer. And I *know* you know.
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Absolutely, Brian. I think you’re right – it seems like he’s finally accepted it. Inside, I felt it all along. So glad it’s no longer a secret :o) ~Carla Michelle
There is so much delight when your own children show they can and do like writing! Hopefully he doesn’t let go of it now!
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The way it resonates feels different from every other teaching experience I’ve ever known. I’m looking forward to seeing him stretch his wings. With college two years away, I know he’s going to need it! Fingers crossed, prayers up. Thank you so much for your response! ~Carla Michelle
This is so lovely! Happy (belated) birthday and congratulations to your son … and congratulations to you! You’re clearly doing an excellent job teaching him! 🙂