Today was the first day I had Writing Conferences, real Writing Conferences, with my students. I’ve spoken to and instructed and taught my students one-on-one, teacher to student, for years. But this was the first time I met them personally as Writers. We shared Writerly Things. And it was glorious!
They were unscripted and .. well, I can’t say haphazard, because I had been thinking about conferring for a long, long time. The parts of a conference, what I would say, how I would guide students.
The reading – I’d done over the summer at The Heart of Texas Writing Project. The rest, the real thinking – I guess I internalized throughout the year as I perused books (sections. paragraphs, words!), always knowing in the back of my mind it had to be done, I wanted it done. Today, I overcame the fear. Preceded before day 1 when I had I observed an empty stack of composition notebooks in my classroom yesterday and thought, Conference Notebooks!!!
Today I just dove right in. And it seemed the most natural thing in the world. We spoke writerly thinking, we nurtured structure, I hit a quick teaching point, we planned “for next time”.. Most importantly, I touched about 5 students every period. Without a timer!
Every class period was a blank page — no anxiety. Every thought throughout the year, my writer’s plan and preparation. Making meaning in my mind, making ready.
Every conversation with a student was the strike and scribble of my pen across the page — thoughtful, involved, and interested. Free from constraints because the moment was here, finally. A movement in learning.
Every teachable moment were my thoughts, finally reaching the page. Magnified in talk and feedback, becoming permanent. A collection of ideas in the minds of my students.
They’re not mine anymore.
I will continue to give, and more.