The first week back to school is always hard, for students and teachers. So imagine the speed at which my dedication burst forth, like a cat on a laser dot, when I got less than half my students showing up for the first class. Great start guys, I can feel your determination already!

This week’s lessons were relatively simple, to ease back into a school pace once more – after a much deserved 3 week break. I picked an activity I’d done with my JHS Japanese students, “Answer Me Bingo,” and changed a few answers to make it more challenging. (In case you’re curious, the aim is to get students to create questions that will have me answer with the words/expressions in a box. It’s a fun game, especially for younger students!)

One of my answers was “to get published,” to get a question like “what’s your dream” or more broadly, “what’s an author’s dream?”

If you’ve taught before, you know how vulnerable you can feel when exposing pieces of yourself to students. Why, it’s just like writing! Although the feedback is more immediate and usually visual in class.

So at the end of one class today I had a student come up to me and ask if I was writing a novel. (Warning: paraphrasing myself.) “Why yes, I am! It’s a work in progress.”

We then spent 5 to 10 minutes talking about  how expensive it is to get published, how fierce competition is, and overall how hard writing can be. This student entered a contest where even if her work doesn’t get picked, she’ll get feedback from a panel of judges, and I’m so very excited for her!

I think I’ll always fondly remember this moment and feeling from now on because one ‘silly’ activity and a mere 3 words got a student to open up to me, and about writing! What’s that expression… two birds, one stone? Victory? Nope, today it’s bingo!

With that fruitful tale, I feel slightly more confident in sharing bits of myself with my students, if only for those brief rewarding moments.

Be yourself!
Ali J.

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