Luke* hated writing. He would be the first to give up and would then behave in a way that distracted other students from their learning and require intervention from the teacher.
Working with Luke to develop his skill as a writer was slow and painstaking work. In the beginning, he would tell me his ideas and I would madly try and keep up with him and get them down on to the page. After writing a paragraph, we would read back over his work. It took some convincing for him to believe it was his work; after all I was the one that had done all of the ‘writing’. “But they’re your ideas” I would tell him. “I didn’t come up with any of that.”
As his self confidence increased, we would alternate. Luke would start off and I would write down his ideas. After three sentences we would then swap the pen and he would take over the task of writing. Three sentences became two, and then two became one. I would sit with him as he went about his writing. Keeping him on task and reminding him that he could do it.
We used planning templates to record and organise his ideas and to remind him of what he needed to do next. We would use the computer to take the focus away from handwriting and instead focus on completion. Occasionally he would slip back and we’d need to go back a few steps to get him back on track again.
I can’t remember when I happened but I remember Luke handing me a piece of published writing. It was a persuasive piece that he typed it up on the computer. I remember seeing the pride that he had in himself; the smile that was beaming from his face. Here was a boy that less than six months ago was so disengaged and wouldn’t write a sentence handing me a page of writing that he had written and published himself.
I looked down at his work and also noticed that I had goosebumps down my arm. I could feel my eyes begin to water. I remember thinking to myself how lucky I am to be in this profession they call teaching. That I get to do this…. and get paid for doing it.
It is the moments like these that are the best thing about my job.
*Not his real name.
This post is the fourth in a series as part of the #youredustory challenge. For more information visit their website.