NaNoWriMo Swag

I empower students by giving them permission and tools to be creative, to make mistakes, learn from them and keep on trying.

I’ve assigned Passion Projects to my Digital Communications class, explaining that they get to choose a subject to explore and develop a project of their own choosing.

I’ve guided new editorial staff of the yearbook as they’ve chosen their theme for the year and looked for ways to bring it to life.

I’ve offered up ideas and shown new tools to my news staff as they’ve begun to try to work out how to run both a print and an online paper with similar content but different purposes and different deadlines.

I’ll soon be showing my Introduction to Journalism students how to blog, allowing them to select themes and widgets and post their own content along with assignments that also involve choice.

With all this handing over of choice and creativity and the option to do well or not do well and learn from it, I realize I’ve left myself out of those offerings. November gives me the opportunity to right those wrongs.

I am participating in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. I’ve known about NaNo the last couple years, but good old doubt has held me back. Not this time.

This has been a rough year. The bad thing is, I remember saying the same thing to myself last year. I love teaching. I love the students I get to teach, but a number of traumatic events in our community and the weight of problems in education have worn on my soul. I’ve begun to lose myself in fiction in any spare time, sometimes time I should be using more responsibly. My excuse is that I’m studying writing.

Even when I was a little girl, I wanted to make up stories. I remember writing my first story when I was in the fourth grade. When neighborhood friends and I played outside, I made up the best stories to act out. I always wanted to be a writer. I won an honorable mention for a short story in some competition in high school. I had no idea what I was doing, but wrote an interesting character in an uncomfortable situation.

I didn’t go to college after high school. Even as an adult, though, I wanted to be a writer. I read other people’s novels, and I dreamed of writing my own. I had no idea what mine would be about – I had no grand story idea, no characters that spoke to me, no situations I dreamed of plotting out. I just wanted to write and to be a writer.

Years later, I got to go to college, and I became a journalism teacher. I love empowering students, but this career affords no time to write a novel. I gained a journalism student last year who told me she’d done NaNo twice. I decided it was a sign. Thanks BT.

I tell students all the time who say they can’t think of anything to write that the act of writing generates thought and the ideas will come if they’ll just trust the process, just start writing.

After all this advice giving, it’s about time I took my own.


About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

One Response to NaNoWriMo Swag

  1. nymdante says:

    Can’t wait until Digital Communications next semester!!

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