Kids need creative writing now more than ever. When the 20-21 school year kicks off, welcome them into your structured classroom (in-person or virtual) and LET them write!
Educators reading this may assume that if they aren’t an English Language Arts teacher, this doesn’t apply to them. Educators reading this may assume that if they aren’t a secondary teacher, this doesn’t apply to them. Those assumptions are ridiculously wrong and can be written about for pages on end. (We’ll save that for another post). Research shows that writing is critical across all content and elective areas, even PE and music, and it’s even more critical right now.
Notice I use the word “let” rather than the word “make.” This sense of expression, with the current state of our nation, should not be assigned as a benchmark expository essay. It should not be proctored to determine where your students are, academically. The type of emotions and thoughts that scholars need to get out of their heads and onto paper right now cannot be drilled down to a graded composition assignment. Instead, they need an educator who acts like an extension cord, providing them with outlets to recharge their spirits.
Right now, your Black and Brown students are drained. Your white students are experiencing feelings that they’re looking to place and also understand. Let’s face it, what has come to light these past few months is not something that we can ignore. This is true in regard to our COVID19 situation and the spotlighted injustices occurring around the country. The amount of trauma and socioemotional effects created waves and ripples that educators and parents are going to be dealing with for years to come. With the buzz of Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), it’s about time that educators fully respond to the culture! Maslow’s over Bloom’s… especially right now. Students need to feel safe and heard before being urged to please educators by mastering standards. Let students creatively write. Then, ask them to critically write.
Tenasia N. Pagano
Twitter: @DreadedTeacher, @YDFW_LTAB Instagram: @imLifing
Tenasia N. Pagano is an Assistant Director at Urban Teachers DFW and the Executive Director of Young DFW Writers. With a background in secondary and post-secondary education, Tenasia has a B.A. in English from Xavier University of Louisiana, M.Ed. from Liberty University, and is currently pursuing an Ed.D. with an emphasis on Culturally Sustaining Literacy in Urban Schools. Tenasia is a wife and mother of three, who also enjoys blogging.