I just e-mailed a rough draft of the first chapter of my dissertation to my advisor. While I’m excited to have a rough draft of this chapter, I’m also nervous about sharing this draft with my advisor. This is the first rough draft that I’ve shared during this process and I was feeling pretty nervous. I was so nervous that a whole troupe of butterflies were doing some pretty amazing acrobatics in my stomach as my computer mouse hovered over the send button.
As disconcerting as those dancing butterflies are, though, they reminded me that writing, and particularly sharing one’s writing, is not an easy task, but one that requires a considerable amount of courage. I started thinking about my kids as writers and how they demonstrate courage as writers. Writing is not easy for them, yet when it’s time to write, they do. They demonstrate courage to put their thoughts down onto paper, no matter how hard writing is for them. I thought of one student in particular who needs a lot of support when we write. She has many great ideas, but translating her ideas into a written product is often challenging. However, she doesn’t give up and she doesn’t hesitate to share her writing. I’m sure that she has some butterflies in her stomach, but she has the courage not to let those butterflies keep her from being a writer.
Every student needs to know that it’s normal to have butterflies because that means that something we’ve created is important and that we want to share our best with our audience. However, our students also have to know that it’s important to have the courage to prevent those butterflies from derailing their writing experiences. As teachers, we need to make sure that we encourage our students be courageous writers. However, courage when writing cannot be taught in a lesson, or even a series of lessons. Courage when writing must be modeled and lived in a classroom. We must show our students what it means to be a courageous writer. That’s why I’m going to share not only my draft of chapter one with my students tomorrow, but also the story of my butterflies.