Teaching Joy

When students gain confidence as writers, some beautiful things start happening: They hold up their parade of Instagram posts to brag about vivid verbs and semicolons. They report writing risks like submitting articles for publication, and the class cheers for each other when they see their writing in print in the college newspaper.

They send thoughtful emails that they just might consider writing more because they enjoyed the Signature Story so much. They just might write more personal essays not required of them in class, and they just might send them along to me for feedback.

They begin inhabiting the writing life.

They say things like, “I really thought I could write before this class. But now I know what it means to write.”

They stand by my desk, laptops propped open like shark jaws balanced on their palms, and they point to the screen to celebrate a colon, an isolated sentence, and a perfect use of parentheses.

They send me links to something they read online because they noticed the authentic written voice. You’ll love it! Read this! Tell me what you think. 

They insist I read how complex that last sentence became–not just because of grammar, but because of how the grammar made the insightful thought come out on the page.

The writing lessons get to them. They get in them.

And now, they write what they alone can say.

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