What Would You Say

I got a great birthday gift today from Fountain (yes, I gave her crap because it was late. And she thinks I'm getting old!). She's my former school roommate, for those of you who aren't familiar with her or our relationship. She gave me a plaque for my desk that says, "Flying Monkeys. I have them. Not afraid to use them." I am huge Wizard of Oz/Wicked fan and have a similar sign hanging in the front of my room. Anyway, she also gave me "Questions and Answers; A Five Year Journal". She knows me so well. A question I found glancing through it prompted this post.

"What do you want to say when someone asks, "What do you do" ?

I find books for teenagers who proudly proclaim they hate to read and have never finished a book. I make them admit that maybe, just maybe, they haven't ever found the right book. And that maybe, just maybe, they didn't give reading a fair chance. And I give them choice.

I give students a place to write freely. A place to write about whatever they want without fear of censorship. I encourage them to write about the hard things in their lives. I celebrate when they write something fabulous.  I share with them my own writing struggles so they know it happens to everyone. And I give them choice.

I take a class terrified to speak in front of the rest and create an environment of safety and comfort. I let them tell stories about their lives, share their passions, and discover new ones.  I give them a place to have fun and enjoy themselves, all the while making them better speakers and learners.  And I give them choice.

I make students whine, "This is hard" and smile when they say it. Then I cheer when they do it well.
I believe in their dreams of the future.
I encourage their creativity and their thinking. I may argue with them, but I don't tell them they are wrong.
I stand up for those who have no one in their corner.
I hover over those who need it.
I yell at a few too.
I love them.

I inspire  teenagers to Read, Write, Speak, Think and Dream.

What do you do?

And just in case you haven't seen or heard this...and even if you have, "What Teachers Make"


  1. Ooh, I love your description of "what you do"! The first paragraph, about reading, is my favorite. I also love how your insertion of "I love them" is so simple and yet says so much.

    P.S. I think that's the same 5-year journal I got in January! :-)

    1. I knew I had read about it from someone on TWT...just couldn't remember who! I love it.

  2. First, thanks for the comment to me yesterday. It meant a lot. And, yes I have seen this video, very inspiring, but yours is moreso to me because I know you. You do do all those things, and so much more I suspect. Here's my thank you from Christa McAuliffe: "I touch the future, I teach."

  3. I think what you do is great, Deb. We are the people, as teachers, who do/should be doing all of these things. What a beautiful piece --- I'll print and save as inspiration for those days when I ask myself the same question :). Thanks for sharing!

  4. Such an affirming and positive list. Inspiration and encouragement that you give makes a difference beyond classroom walls.

  5. I heart your answer....so deeply. Beautiful reflection about your (our) job.

    "I love them." Simply perfection.

  6. I wish I was a teenager, I wish I had you to inspire me to read, write, speak, think, and dream. Choice, so simple but so powerful. Awesome!

  7. What a great post. I think I will print it and hang it by my desk. You always write from the heart.

  8. MY favorite part was this line, "I make students whine, "This is hard" and smile when they say it." Very cool post Deb!

  9. I thought of that Taylor Mali spoken word piece right away when I read your slice! How fun to scroll down and see it there.

    I celebrate you for all you do! This is important work.

  10. Very well thought out slice. I really like the line: I inspire teenagers to Read, Write, Speak, Think and Dream. And "I give them choice". You are a truly great teacher and writer. Thank you for sharing what you do!

  11. I've decided I want to come hang out in your class. :D

  12. Can you come teach me - I need all those skills!!

  13. You create life-long learners who can achieve their dreams. I love your answers! Wow! I'm with Kellylou, I'm coming to visit in your class. :)

  14. I can't wait till you get your 'hands' on Dalton! Hopefully you can find him a book to read all the way through.

    1. Oh, I'll find him a book, Christine. You know I will!


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