In the middle of workshop time last week I noticed that a group was beginning to form in the back of the room. I was conferring with a student in the front of the room so I hoped the group would quickly dismantle on their own. Soon I realized that I would need to intervene if I had any hope of progress for the 23 students not sitting directly in front of me. Just as I was about to break up the party, the party came running to me.
“Miss Smith, you’ve got to read what Emily wrote!” comes a boy running with Emily’s writer’s notebook. Emily, whose color now matched the pink shirt she wore, was slowly making her way to the front of the room claiming her piece wasn’t good enough for all the fuss.
Quickly, I made a choice to seize the moment and asked Emily if she would share. Emily took the notebook, without much hesitation, and read aloud a poem she had written the day before. Her peers and I were gathered around her listening intently. She read with voice, and with pride. She knew she was on to something, even if she didn’t want to admit it. When she finished reading her peers and I erupted into cheers and clapping. Kids were talking about their favorite lines and how the ending had surprised them.
“This is what it means to be a part of a community of writers,” I told the kids. It happens every year, these moments when a class is more a family than a group of kids. I’m just thankful that they let their teacher in on the beauty of the moment.