This morning at Upward Bound, we were doing revision workshops on the personal statements my students are writing. One of the young women began to read her essay.
I stopped her.
You need to speak louder and read slower. Your words are gold.
She looked at me quizzically.
You need to read as though what you have to say is important, precious--not "this is just some shit I wrote."
And then I remembered.
These kids are in high school and I'm talking like a sailor. Of course, R--, the boy who wants to become a writer, giggled and said, "I love you Miss Jensen." But I should behave.
Back to the girl. Her words were gold. Her story inspiring. And she could barely read for the fear and the shame.
Gah! The return of the fear! I don't know how to teach against the fear. Except to keep saying, "your words are gold, they are precious; you have something to say."
Lucy Calkins is talking to children in this video. Let's sit cross-legged on the floor and listen in.