Feeling Like a Writer

By Sarah Fitzgerald, Secondary English, Ruckersville, VA:


My focus for the school year was trying to improve student writing, not for state scores, but to help foster self-confidence and enjoyment in writing. I asked students to write for a few minutes on how they viewed themselves as writers. At first, no one wanted to share, and I was afraid it was because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Then a student raised his hand and talked about how, for the first time, he felt like a writer. Then other students began to echo the same sentiment. It reminded me of how important it is to feel like what you have to say matters and to have the tools and space to speak your truths.

I always loved writing, but after the death of my grandfather I found it very difficult to write. Other than writings for work, I rarely practiced and honed my craft. If I did, it was with a sense of dread. However, I participated in a Writing Project satellite group, and it sparked my love of writing again. I wrote with my students this year and modeled my own difficulties. My students’ responses echo my own feelings about how I felt this year as a writer. I felt empowered, finding a voice I hid away after a traumatic event. What a year of change for me and my students, and we have authentic and reflective writing to thank!