To All The Students I’ve Taught Before…

I had a revelation this week. In reading over the letters my students wrote, due on just our 7th day of class together, I was floored by how good they were. How honest and heartfelt and creative. And it hit me: Think of all the students who I have held back all these years with graphic organizers and scripted essays and extremely limiting guidelines and, you know, NOT really working on writing at all.

This post was supposed to be all about the power of writing workshop, of giving students choice and voice in their reading and writing life. And I *will* get to that. Soon. But first, I just wanted to say, to all the heritage students I’ve taught before…

… I’m sorry. I did the best I knew how at the time, and I know you learned some things. I hope you felt welcome and cared for. I hope you felt heard. But I know now that it could have been so much better. That I could have been so much better. For you. And for that I am so, so sorry. “I didn’t know” isn’t a very good excuse, but at least this time, it’s true: I had no idea that there was a better way.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I always believed there was a better way to teach your class, and I know that every year I did do a little bit better (shout out to my first Heritage class back in 2011-2012 – I know I *really* sucked that year), but it took me too long to start to figure this out. I’m sorry for that.

So, now that I got that off my chest, I think I can get started working on that post about the magic that’s happening in my classroom. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

My former students are out in the world doing big things, even though my class wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. That’s a bit of consolation, I suppose.

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