A Gem, of Sorts




It’s misleading to think of writers as special creatures, word sorcerers who possess some sort of magical knowledge hidden from everyone else. Writers are ordinary people who like to write. They feel the urge to write, and they scratch that itch every chance they get.”  Ralph Fletcher



“Ms. Pesta who is your favorite author?”

“What is your favorite book?”

My 4th grade readers were asking me these questions as I stood before them praising an author’s work and I am unable to give them an answer.  So I explained, “I can’t say who my favorite author is because I have so many.  And I can’t give an answer for my favorite book because of the same reason.  I like so many books and authors for various reasons that I don’t have a favorite.  There are several authors I love, but not a favorite.”

“Well, since you love reading so much, why don’t you write a book?” is their reply.

“It’s too hard to write a book.” Yes, those words left my mouth.  I told students that writing was too hard.  This lead me to reflect.

I want to focus on a gem I mined from this conversation.  “Since you love reading so much, why don’t you write a book.”  That is a gem because the students linked reading and writing.  I do not think many struggling readers do that and this group saw the connection between the two.  It only stands to reason that if you like to read, then you would also like to write.  It is funny how they think that of others, but fail to see it in themselves.  Why is that?

Could this failure to notice their own ability to write be due to the same reason I gave them about writing a book—“it’s too hard.”

I step back and reflect some more.  If I view writing a book as too hard, why wouldn’t they view writing as hard.  There isn’t much difference here between the teacher and the student.  I encourage reading and rally about books, but I don’t do so about my writing.  Maybe, I need to do so with my students.  My writing may not be a book, but it still may be something to share with them so that they can develop their appreciation for their work and the art that writing is.

I can’t expect them to love their writing, if I don’t start sharing my writing with them.  I want them to read and I share my reading life, now I need to share my writing life.  Therefore, my goal is now to share what I write with them.  I need to do so for myself and for my growing writers.  How can I talk the talk if I don’t walk the walk that is expected of them?



5 Comments Add yours

  1. Great reflection! I think I improve as a teacher of writers as I write more (plus I am lucky that I will attend the Teachers College Writing Institute in June). You are so right- it is hard and we have to walk the walk! Glad you are here slicing again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chris Pesta says:

      The writing institute will be perfect to begin a summer of writing and planning. Enjoy!


  2. rosecappelli says:

    What a great reflection, Chris! It is amazing what we can learn from our students if we are open to listening. It took me a very long time to share my writing, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems too hard to write a book, until you write lots of little pieces, maybe see how some could go together, or find out you can outline and break a job into parts… all skills we teach. Definitely show your students your writing and your struggles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chris Pesta says:

      I will have to look back and reflect on my writing. Maybe an article will come out of it. Thanks for the advice!


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