When I was young, adults were always asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never took the question lightly. As a very young child, I often said “teacher,” because my parents were educators and I had transformed our family’s basement into a classroom for my then-toddler brother. After awhile, I started getting crafty with my responses. Athlete. Pop star. Lawyer. President. General (so I could stop all the wars). But as soon as I could hold a pen, one ambition stood out from the others. I have always had a passion for language, the subtle way that a carefully selected series of words and punctuation marks could turn any plain old thought into something beautiful.
Eventually, I found another source of beauty – working with young children as a special education teacher. Like writing, teaching is an art – a carefully selected series of opportunities that help every child develop a love of learning, an appreciation for difference, courage to pursue their own ideas, and a passion to make the world a better place. I can’t imagine a more inspiring or fulfilling career.
But, when the writing bug hits you (even at age four), I’m not entirely sure it ever goes away. The older I get, the more nights I lay awake drafting something in my head. Sometimes I draft ideas for my classroom: better ways to have handled a situation that day, a new plan to help them see the value and heart of a child who doesn’t seem to be included in the community, or how I can adjust my practice to the ever-changing learning needs of each new group of children. Sometimes I draft my imaginary responses to the extra drama teachers deal with these days (the culture of high stakes assessments, teacher evaluations, or the tragic disappearance of teachers’ voices from each new wave of school reforms, to name a few). Sometimes I draft a social commentary, yearning to make sense out of tragic current events or to share my perspective on controversial topics that I can relate to.
Most of the time, these late-night drafts never make it out of my own head. But today, that little four-year-old, destined to be writer-slash-president, is making a bit of a comeback. I don’t know much about blogs, and I have a lot to learn, but enough people have told me to start one that I figured I’d give it a try. I work hard to write with fairness and respect, and I hope you enjoy a little selection of my drafts, writer to writer, teacher to teacher, artist to artist.