Note: This post was supposed to run this morning. Must not have clicked the right button last night. So, here’s my thinking of late. Better late than not at all. (I think that’s the mantra of many of my students.)
I have a confession: I am pretty much a wreck.
I could blame it on my son who joined the Army and left for basic training the afternoon of Mother’s Day, or I could blame it on another son who called to say he’s marrying a girl he’s known a month and I’ve never met, or I could blame it on this Empty Nester thing that’s barely three days new and haunting me with shutting doors and creaking floors.
I could blame it on the AP Language exam my students take today.
It’s the same every year — well, not that son part, thank God — but definitely the wreck part.
Every year I wonder if I taught enough, had them write enough, gave enough feedback. I wonder if I helped them grow as critical thinkers and accomplished writers. I wonder if they will read the prompts correctly. I wonder if they’ll answer the questions. (I’d be happy with a thesis statement.) I wonder if they’ll remember we learned to read footnotes. I wonder if they’ll cite their sources. I wonder if they’ll write enough to show they are bright and honest and eager and loving young adults.
No matter how my students do on this high-stakes test, the important things — the things that matter to me, and should matter to the world — are the things that cannot be measured in 55 multiple choice questions and three essays.
I just needed to write myself into that reminder.
Today I read Enjoy the Best Year Ever with a Mantra by Ruth Ayres and loved her Why I Write mantra. I took up the pen to write my own. It’s still a work in process, but I’m kinda likeing it, and I’m no longer a wreck.
Why I Write
I write to make myself feel better.
I write to discover what I want to say.
I write to hear my voice within the chaos.
I write to play with colorful words (and pens).
I write to show my students I am a writer — and because it’s hard.
I write to share my thinking, my hoping, my planning, my longings.
I write to be remembered and to be worth remembering.
I write to know I belong.
I write to advocate for literacy and learning and the lives of my kids.
I write to become a better reader (and I read to become a better writer).
I write to tell stories.
I write to walk the walk and talk the talk of my English teacher self.
I write because it is better than the spa.
Have a go at it. What is your mantra?