I stood at the “Meet the Staff” board in the hallway and perused the friendly pictures. What did I notice? Individual snapshots of the staff members standing by a brick background with tall green shrubs and welcoming smiles. Next to their picture was a self portrait, and below their picture was their name, title, and three words that describe them. All arranged neatly on a black background. It was very visually appealing.
But what caught my attention was a grey paper with hand drawn student faces and a bold “Meet Staff” on the side. The paper went on to ask Who am I? and described the process by which teachers created their displays. And then these words that resonated with me:
We ask children to sometimes do difficult things so we wanted to show that we too do things that feel vulnerable and are hard because there is value in the challenge.
This reminded me of writing. We need students to see that we do the difficult work right along side them. That we understand when they can’t think of what to write about, or feel their writing is not good, or struggle to focus. Through our practice as teacher writers, we can encourage, share strategies, and build a community where everyone is doing the hard work.