Do you hate teaching writing? If so, you’re not alone. Teachers everywhere describe writing as overwhelming and frustrating. And since it is no fun at all…teachers aren’t quick to protect their writing time. “Math is going a little long? Oh well, I guess we don’t have time for writing today.” But what if I told you that writing can be more fun to teach? It’s true! Check out these simple tips…
Let Students Choose Topics
The natural tendency when teaching writing is to assign a prompt, project or craftivity. We tell ourselves that it will be easier if every student is writing about the same subject.
But here’s the real deal…
When students are forced to write about a topic that they aren’t interested in, they start to dislike writing. Then they start moaning and groaning about having to write. That’s no fun!
Then it comes time for you to grade all of these projects. You get to read 25 papers about the exact same topic. BORING! Grading is already tough enough, but this just seals the deal.
When students are taught to choose their own topics to write about, they get excited to write, share, and learn more about the topic. They start to look forward to writing time. That makes it more fun for everyone!
When students choose their own topic, every paper you grade will be vastly different. This will make the process a lot less painful!
Focus on Growth Over Perfection
As teachers, we are overachievers and we always want all of our students to master each and every standard. In writing we want students to write five paragraphs, capitalize sentences and proper nouns, use the correct punctuation, and dazzle us with their interesting and detailed stories. It’s the dream!
But then there is the reality…
“My kids are so slow! They can’t even write a sentence!”
I have heard this over and over. (If so many teachers are feeling this way, I wonder if their kids are actually below level…but that is a whole different subject to dive into another day.)
It is no fun to teach writing when we are constantly disappointed by the number of mistakes they are making. Before long we feel like it’s a lost cause.
But what if we spent less time focusing on what they can’t do and more time taking note of the improvements they are making?
Instead of, “Josh is still not writing five paragraphs! He barely writes a few sentences,” we start saying things like, “Josh only wrote three words on his paper during the pre-assessment and now he is writing several sentences!” Now that is something to be proud of!
Your students aren’t going to become perfect writers this year. But they WILL grow! Celebrate the growth. You will instantly start enjoying teaching writing when you change the conversation in your head.
Take the Training
In a study of over 500 teachers, only 50% had ever taken a college course about how to teach writing. It’s not surprising that the majority of those teachers surveyed also admitted to not liking to teach writing.
Here is an inconvenient truth: nobody likes to do things that they don’t know how to do. When we don’t know how to do something, we lack confidence when doing it. Eventually, we crumple in the face of inevitable challenges.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
I want to invite you to the Not So Wimpy Writing Masterclass. This online professional development program will teach you step-by-step how to be a successful writing teacher.
The course will be opening in June! Make sure you are on the waitlist so that you don’t miss out!
Even though you haven’t had a lot of fun teaching writing in the past, I am confident that we can change that!
Have a Not So Wimpy day,