At Vine, our teachers keep journals to record their observations and feelings as they make their way through the school year. We're sharing one entry (with permission) to give readers a peek inside the mind and heart of one of our teachers this year:
Teacher Observation: December
"The entire process of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has been fascinating to me. I've enjoyed watching the individual journey each student has had with his or her novel. I don’t think any journey felt as awe-inspiring, though, as what happened between Chase* and his story.
When we introduced Nanowrimo, the kids all seemed excited about it. The newer students didn’t exactly know what they were in for but seemed to all approach the project with an open mind.
It was only a matter of about 48 hours before Nanowrimo had developed into a full-blown love affair for Chase. It was all he thought about! He ate, slept, and breathed Nanowrimo! He would get to class early and set his computer up and just start typing. Often, he was typing away at 7:45 when I walked into the classroom. He would update me on how many words he had typed the night before. I was actually becoming a little nervous because I imagined that he would drag the story on forever or that it wouldn’t make sense!
Long story short: he completely blew me away. His story made sense. It was thrilling, in fact! When I read it straight through for the first time, he had added some details at the end that I didn’t see coming, and I was truly sad that a character died. I felt like I had known the character! The content of the story was 100% Chase, and watching him go through this process was like having a first row seat to the best movie I'd ever seen. It was priceless.
The day that I'll always remember specifically was when our class period read the story together. I read it aloud and everyone listened. Chase facilitated conversations as we went if other students had questions or compliments. The pride that Chase took in this moment was unmatched to any student I've ever seen; he was so thrilled with the hard work he'd put in. After reading Chase's “About the Author” paragraph, I was taken aback when he mentioned that one of his favorite things about writing was getting to watch people listen to his story for the first time. I knew exactly what that comment stemmed from and I felt as though I drew the winning lottery ticket being able to watch the entire miracle unfold before my eyes.
I believe that teachers are given moments that help anchor them in their profession if that profession is truly meant to be. I believe that this moment was an anchor for me. No matter what the future may hold, I know that working with students to achieve more than they ever have before is a burning passion of mine."
*The student's name has been changed to protect his privacy.