Morning Pages 1/31: Writing to be Heard

Writing is one of the most powerful things a person can do to be heard. A single post or tweet can suddenly go viral overnight, rocketing the moment of a  singular person onto the screen of hundreds of thousands of people. A book can become a nationwide best seller, impacting millions of lives. Writing is powerful. It can draw attention to the important issues facing the people on a daily basis—issues they may not even realize existed before reading a specific work.

As a future educator and writer, I have the power to create works that will open peoples eyes to the importance of a public education. I can help them see that it is more than learning simple algebraic formulas that seem to never have a purpose later in life. Because I will be right in the middle of public education, I will be able to see firsthand how students are impacted by what I teach and how that changes them into person capable working within a democracy. While I am a singular voice in a mass off many, I can write of the personal experiences I have with my students and show, through experience, how I have seen education impact their lives. Moreover, I can express how important it is to pay attention and fund education to make it capable that all students are given the same opportunities to succeed. Education needs not only to be equal, but also equitable. Without it, we will have an unequally educated society.

All voices have the right to be heard and through writing I hope my own will echo off the walls across this nation to bring attention the very important topic of public education in the United States.

Touchstone Moments: Zoomed

I’ll begin at the moment when my love for writing first started: fourth grade, Mrs. Hartman’s class, close to the end of my day. It was time for “free period.” It was my favorite time of the day, not only because it rarely happened, but it meant I was able to work on my next great story (as great as the story of a ten year old can be, of course).

It’s easy to remember the bustle of the classroom, one motherly figure standing at the front, her short black hair gelled out in different directions, pointing her knowing fingers around the room, calling our attention to the many different activities to focus on—there were books, board games, crafts, or the writing table located behind the desks, dead center. I made sure I rushed to grab my blue, wide ruled notebook, hurrying as fast as my small legs could carry me to that table. I sat in my favorite seat, the one closest to the door that lead to the play ground, and flipped to my last used page. I don’t remember exactly what I was writing about but one story involved the Easter Bunny as a dastardly villain, while another centered around a raft trip gone wrong.

My hand writing was more of a scrawl, all long lines and out of control swirls. Even then, my brows would knit in concentration and I would lean forward, long blonde hair drifting across the paper; the pencil would scratch across the white surface, often times being crossed out or erased because I didn’t like the way the words sounded or looked. It seems as though I was picky from the start. No matter how many mistakes I made though, I loved it.

By the end of free period, the noise of the classroom would rise again, waiting for our teacher to call us back to order, her clear voice ringing out through the air. I made sure to have her read my stories once a week, checking to see what she thought. Mrs. Hartman always made sure to stamp my stories with her favorite one, something that said “good work” or “A+” in a green ink that smelled like apples.

It is this moment I look back on whenever I am feeling my creativity has dried up or when I don’t feel inspired to write anymore. These were moments filled with passion and excitement, one that I will never forget. While writing isn’t always fun (thinking the generic essay or research paper) I remind myself to think of how I felt about it when I was ten years old, sat at that table in a chair that would be far to small for my body now, scrawling out the next best thing to come across my mind. I take that moment and apply it to myself whenever I write a new idea down or press forward in my ever changing novel. Writing is meant to be fun. It is meant to be creative. It is meant to have passion and to make your heart race at the thought of making something new. This memory, one of the first of my touchstone moments, reminds me of what it means to be a writer as well as what it means to love your writing.

I remind myself every day to never lose the fun, creative, and passionate side my younger ten year old self had, every time she was able to write.

Morning Pages: 1/26/2017; Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President,

In the recent election, you were brought into office as the next leader of America. That is a lot of weight to be put upon any person’s shoulders, but it’s your weight now. Of the many pressing issues circulating at the moment, one of the most important to me is education. Regardless of whether or not you agree or disagree with me, I can assume that you were educated through your youth, if not through higher education as well. This issue effects all American citizens, including yourself—you have to decide the future of our educational system.

You have to consider many things relating to this issue. It is important to bring enough funding into this aspect of American society that students in all public school districts across all levels on income receive enough resources to provide them with equal educations. It is a well known fact that our schools are underfunded. This must change. As president, you need to strive to make education a more pressing issue instead of brushing it aside and moving forward. Without education, this nation wouldn’t be half of what it is today. You wouldn’t be where you are without it, nor would I be where I am. Education fosters knowledge and the opportunity to better oneself and succeed. Yet, without proper funding, teachers across America will struggle to provide their students with the proper resources to improve themselves or rise them to their full potential.

While you may think I am making this about money, I am urging you to look beyond dollars. Yes, it does take money to aid in the success of a system, but the same is said about a successful business. This money is going to help the students—the future of America. They should be the focus of this issue. The future of this country needs to be set up for success, rather than failure. No school should struggle to afford the newest and most advanced textbooks for their students. No school should be forced to use outdated technology in a world that becomes more reliant on rapid advances in this field every day. These students require your help.

I ask that you consider the well being of the future of this country. I ask that you change a broken system. I ask that you look within yourself and think where you would be had you not had dedicated teachers in your youth, urging you to reach your highest potential.

So, Mr. President, where would you be without education?

Sincerely,

A concerned student.

 

Blogging About Blogs?

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Blogs…A word that cannot be pinned down to a singular topic. Blogs are expansive—ranging from puppies to prison. It is almost guaranteed that if can google a topic, there is likely a blog revolving around it. Of the blogs I looked into, I focused on ones that were relevant to myself or my hobbies. The varying topics of the blogs I chose were education, tattoos, and book reviews, all important things in my life.

 

Mike Rose, the author of “Why School” and long time professor, has his own blog focused on education. When reading his blog, it is clear he is targeting relatively educated adults as well as future educators (depending on the post you chose to read). This is modeled through his use of formal language as well as using current events in many of his posts. He seems to assume that those who read his blog are passionate about education (and all of the bells and whistles that go along with it)  and, should you read his political posts, seems to be quite against Trump, not that that is very surprising. He rises to meet these assumed views and expectations with the contents of his posts. I believe that Rose wants to be viewed as intelligent, well versed, and respected through experience.

Tattoos. Some people love them, and others hate them. Marisa Kakoulas, runs a well known tattoo blog in which she interviews big-name tattoo artists, all coming from varying styles and techniques. Her blog targets an audience not only interested in tattoos, but also wishing to learn the specific details of the work that the artists do.  This is shown through here constant interviews with successful professionals, backed by images of the art they create. Additionally she reports on large news events relating to tattoos in order to bring them to her audience and leave it open for discussion. I believe that Kakoulas wishes to be viewed as knowledgeable on her subject as well as informative to her readers.

I love Books—always have and always will. The final blog I looked at was run by an unnamed author, but the review base the blog has going is remarkably vast. This blog targets readers looking for genuine opinions on potential books to read. It is assumed that the audience is assumed to be readers. This blog meets this assumed views by solely focusing on reviewing books as well as interacting with its audience by taking in some recommendations to read next. I believe this author wants to have her voice heard and received in a respectful manor, regardless if the audience disagrees.

While all of the above blogs are vastly different, they are all people expressing their professional opinions about topics they seem very passionate and knowledgeable about. This makes me much more aware of what my goals need to be as a public author writing about education. I assume those who are interested in my blog are those looking to find an opinion about education from a student in training. In order to meet these expectations, I plan on being as honest with my readers about my own opinions regarding education.

Image Citation:

Yuma Ongology Center. “Blog.” Yuma Oncology Center, AdviceMedia, Mar. 6 2016, http://www.yumaoncologycenter.com/blog/

Morning Pages 1/24/2017; Classrooms to Aid in Touchstone Moments

Certain classrooms stands out compared to others, be them bad or good. The good environments lead to touchstone moments appearing in my experience as a student in high school. Lets start with the basics. Classrooms that created touchstone moments for me were a friendly environment; one that welcomed all students and valued their unique ideas and opinions. Seems fairly obvious, right? Still, I’m sure many of us can look back and recall a classroom that felt more like a prison, one in which student’s ideas were shut down, and who’s opinions were told that they were wrong or didn’t matter, be that directly or indirectly. These negative spaces can also create touchstone moments, but not the kind I wish to focus on.

The classrooms that succeeded in creating positive touchstone moments were often areas of lively discussion and an exchange of ideas in a respectful manor. The teachers in these rooms would often act as one of the class, equal to students when it came to the expression of ideas and opinions. These teachers would be there to guide the lesson when necessary, but always gave some of the power back to the students. These teachers were experts in dialogical pedagogy—they allowed students to engage with the material and to think for themselves rather than lecturing at them for an hour or more.

One classroom in particular that stood out for me was my Freshman and Junior year English teacher, Ms. Hall. She strove for her students to dig deeper and guide much  of the classroom discussion. She placed a large majority of responsibilities on her students, but for as much  as they may have struggled, they grew just as much. She created several touchstone moments for myself as I took her classes, ranging from basic research strategies to inspiration to try and strive to become a published author (one day in the future, of course). Moreover, she moved beyond the basic “read this book, take a quiz, shallowly discuss, and repeat” style that many English teachers can fall into. She brought in life experience and events—she made it mean something to all of us. This basic strategy of connection made many touchstone moments occur for myself.

Above everything, both negative and positive classrooms had an effect on me. I can look back at specific classrooms and remember how unengaged and bored I was. Those classes could have ruined my passion for writing, reading, etc, but classes like Ms. Hall’s had the opposite effect and had an incredibly positive impact on my life.

Touchstone Writing Moments

Much of what I do is centered around writing; I love it. As an aspiring English teacher and possible author, I understand what an important role it plays for both jobs. There were key moments in my life in which I go back to whenever I’m writing a new piece of literature or my next analysis/ research paper. These are my touchstone moments.

Free Writing

When I was in elementary school, there was a magical moment in each day known as “free time”. It was the highlight of every child’s day, including myself. During “free time” we were given the freedom to do whatever we liked, so long as it was productive. To me, it meant I was able to write. This was where my passion for writing blossomed. During these brief breaks, I came up with short and imaginative stories. While they were far from polished, they were able to show me what it meant to be creative and how to push the boundaries of reality. Now, whenever I write anything in the creative sphere, I look back to how the stories that came from “free time” made me feel. This keeps my current writing a live and spunky, always keeping my attention, and never leaving me bored.

Research

I was first introduced to research papers in my Freshman year of high school. When I was first given the assignment, I felt like I was shadowed beneath a frightening cloud of tasks and responsibility—I didn’t have the slightest clue on how to go about creating a research paper well, let alone effectively. And I wasn’t given the help I needed until my Junior year. My English teacher at the time showed me effective ways to create an outline and a first draft within thirty minutes. It was revolutionary. I still use those skills to this day, and often look back upon this moment whenever a new research project is assigned to me. Never again will I struggle.

Novelist?

As I mentioned previously, I have hopes to one day become published. This passion began in my childhood, but matured as I entered high school and met like-minded peers. One friend in particular (who is still very present in my life today) opened my eyes to the possibility of novels and extended stories. We were able to constantly bounce ideas off of one another and we pushed each other to succeed. This friend pushed me until I created the idea for my first novel (one that is still in the works, might I add). It is this moment that I look back to whenever I am starting to lose motivation on my work or what I look back to when I need a drastic amount of inspiration. This moment is what fuels my hopes of becoming published and reminds me to always create with the passion I felt in the initial moments my novel came to existence.

Of the many moments that have stood out to me as a writer, these are by far the most important. I will always look back to these to continue to inspire me as an author, and aid me in the struggle of being a student.