A post on Facebook recently reminded me of this video of David Coleman, in which he states that the problem with narrative writing taught in schools is that when kids grow up, they realize nobody… cares what they think.
You can watch the video here:
And read about the this flimflam on the Jersey Jazzman blog.
It’s a good thing no one shared this deception with Helen Keller, who published her autobiography, The Story of My Life, when she was 22. I’m sure no one was interested in what she had to say (insert tongue in cheek…).
It’s a good thing no one shared this shameful hubris to any of these young authors.
It’s a good thing no one shared this little bit of reverse wisdom with me when I was growing up. Instead, my teachers showed me that my writing was important.
When I was in 3rd grade, I wrote a silly little poem about the tallest building in the United States as part of a class assignment. My teacher later pulled me aside to say that she thought the poem was so good, she had taken it to the 6th grade teachers to see what they thought. The 6th grade teachers also thought it was very good.
When I was in the 6th grade, we submitted poems to the local PTA poetry contest, with the theme, “What Makes Me Imagine.” I won first place in my school for that poem, and I still have the trophy and picture of me receiving said reward.
When I was in the 7th grade, my teacher told me that I was a good writer and that I should be on the yearbook staff the next year.
The next year, the yearbook staff adviser, the 7th grade English teacher, and the principal called me into the office to implore me to join the yearbook staff, since I had been too shy to sign up for it. I figured if they were going to go to that much trouble to sign me up, I might as well give it a try.
When I was in the 9th grade, I was accepted onto the newspaper staff at my mid-high, where I served as a reporter.
When I was in the 10th grade, I was accepted onto the high school newspaper staff, where I served three years as a reporter, typesetter, and an opinion editor. I even won a 2nd place state-level award for an editorial I had written.
When I went to college, I was accepted onto the university newspaper staff, where my very first news story my freshman year appeared on the front page. I ended up serving in several roles during my time on staff, including Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, News Editor, and Features Editor. I won several collegiate awards, and my newspaper won 1st place in general excellence the year I served as Editor-in-Chief.
Beginning my junior year in college, I served an internship at a local daily newspaper. This lead to a few other reporting positions at local papers, including several professional-level awards.
Hmmm… it seems that several people cared what I think. And for that I am eternally grateful.
Who was it that cared what I thought?
I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my Master’s of Education in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students’ voices and choices.