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a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FOUR WORDS


I hate this class.

Four words written in a random notebook.  Random because he hadn’t brought his Voices Strong notebook to class. 

Four words that made my heart sing. 

In fact, my heart was singing so loudly that I had to celebrate.  Although I didn’t reveal to the rest of the class what his words said, I was moved enough to stop the class dead in its tracks to point out what A had done: He had written unapologetically.  It is part of our daily mantra. 

“That’s a good thing?” A glared at me from behind strands of hair he’d tipped his head to force over his eyes, incredulous. 

“Of course! We start class pledging to write unapologetically every day.  Writing from who you are, not who you think I want you to be is our primary goal for this semester.  It is what this class is about.”  I knew I was chirping.  I was aware that my voice, my cheeriness, chafed A’s apathetic 8th grade attitude.   But I simply couldn’t help myself.

I love this class.  Even those four words written in a random notebook.  Especially those four words written in a random notebook.

They are 22 Voices Strong.

11 comments:

  1. Wow! What a gift you gave that student by acknowledging his writer's voice. He'll never forget you or that moment when you celebrated that he was writing unapologetically. It's amazing that you could love those four words.

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  3. I love, love, love that you gave A a voice. I appreciate how you remained true to the mantra of writing unapologetically. In one action, you validated his work. I now love those four words, too.

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  4. I wasn't expecting your response of "four words that made my heart sing.' But I love that you found something positive in A's words. It sounds like he was caught off guard, too. Maybe you raised just enough of a question in his mind that he'll start finding something to love (or at least like) about this class. I hope you keep us posted on his progress!
    Catherine

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  5. Christy, you are so wise and you get these kids. Right now he may hate it, but over time he will understand this class matters to you and everyone in it. Knowing that he has power with his words and he won't be berated for them may just be the spark he needs. Like I said, you are wise. :-)

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  6. Wouldn't you love to have seen what his thoughts were the rest of the day? It's a nudge, in the right direction, Christy! You are a wise teacher to have seen a crack and entered!

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  7. Those words always bring a smile to my face too. I know it means there's a connection of some kind going on. It usually means that I am making them think and work for themselves and they haven't done that in awhile. And you are so right in validating his feelings and his writing. I love this post!!!!

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  8. I love that reaction! You are a gifted teacher!

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  9. I hope that he keeps his honesty and reveals his soul in more words. May your heart sing many times this year.

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  10. Definitely a gifted teacher. Brave, too. Enjoy.

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