I write this post in support of National Writing Project (NWP), which is slated to lose its federal funding come Friday, April 8. Without a doubt, NWP has been the BEST professional development I have EVER received. There are three basic tenants:
1. Teacher as Writer
2. Teacher as Teacher of Writing
3. Teacher as Researcher
I know it sounds simplistic, but let me tell you that in six years as a Literacy Instructional Coach, I completely see the value of #1 and #3. (#2 is one most people buy into already.)
One cannot teach writing if one does not see oneself as a writer. How can we ask our students to do something that we are unwilling to do ourselves? How do we plan lessons and prepare for potential hang ups if we haven’t tried it ourselves first? Have you ever tried to write a myth? It’s HARD! When I taught in Michigan, seventh grade students were required to write a myth. It wasn’t until I sat down to attempt it myself that I realized what supports students would need.
While I may never write a novel, I write every day. I write email messages to teachers whom I coach where every word makes an impact. I write objectives and lesson plans. I write notes of encouragement to colleagues, friends and family. I compose my thoughts into a concise 140 characters for Twitter. I have written a few articles for publication. I see myself as a writer and that is because of the NWP training I received.
It is because I write every day that I know the power of words. It is because I write every day that I know the importance of words. It is because I write every day that I know National Writing Project is valuable and worth fighting to save!