Friday, January 15, 2010


Not long ago I felt the meaning of the old saying that “if one of us succeeds, we all do”. After a somewhat discouraging week of teaching (I felt like I had completely blown several lessons on writing), I was grading essays one morning, and growing even more dispirited. One after another of them seemed disorganized and bland, and, as I often do, I began blaming myself. I’ve always felt that if my students aren’t learning how to write, the buck stops at the my desk, so I started beating myself up yesterday morning: Geez, Salsich, don’t you know anything about teaching writing?? Fortuitously, however, in the midst of my gloominess I came upon a perfectly
graceful and perceptive essay by an 8th grade girl. I was enthralled as I read it. She had obviously followed my instructions meticulously, and she used almost all the techniques I had recently taught the class. The writing charmed me with its orderly elegance. When I finished reading it, I set it down, took a deep breath of reassurance, and smiled. Perhaps I wasn’t such a feeble writing teacher after all. My student had succeeded, and therefore, to some degree, so had I. Perhaps if one of us succeeds, we all do.

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