Thursday, March 14, 2019

Know better, do better #SOL19

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Annual March Slice of Life Story Challenge.  

"When you know better, do better." ~ Maya Angelou

I have heard these words many times during my teaching career.  But sometimes, even when I know better, I don't always do what's best. Sometimes circumstances beyond my control keep me from doing better.  Like district mandates, curriculum guidelines, time constraints, and standardized testing.

Although I don't always do better, sometimes, all it takes is a student to put things into perspective.

This week we have been spending a lot of time on quick writes. It is the week before spring break, and we have been "practice testing" for our state assessments. The timing was good for this kind of work.

We have been writing to words randomly found in books, and the kids have really enjoyed this process. One day the word was "right." A student shared his writing, which was about a boy who was homeless and hungry and trying to make the "right" decision:  Do I ignore my hunger pains or break into this bakery for some bread. It ends with a bat in the boy's hand. Hmmm...what does he do?

My second period left my room, and about 15 minutes later, two boys returned, one from second period and the other from an afternoon class who had not completed the quick write yet.

"Mrs. Eck, we were in study hall and have something to show you."

"What's that?"

"A.J. wrote about my story, but from the baker's perspective," said the boy from second period.

"Let me see." I take the paper and read the story about the baker's shop window being busted by a boy with a bat. (Now you know what decision he made!) I looked up and smiled. "May I keep it?"

They both smile, and said, "We were hoping you would."

As they started to walk away, I said, "It's fun when we get to write like this, isn't it?"

"Yeah, especially when we get to choose."

Yes, when I know better, I should do better.


  1. 100% for when students get to choose!

    And, yes, I think that when we know better we should do better, but that is sometimes really difficult, isn't it?

  2. A wonderful mentor slice! Even with the best intentions, I sometimes forget to do better when I know better. Your students did some very creative writing when the doors were thrown wide open. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The difference between a random act of violence and an crime committed out of need to stay alive. Makes me think of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.

  4. I love the creativity and thinking students show when they feel invested in their work. Great slice, Leigh Anne.

  5. Writers love an audience, and it seems that they know you enjoy their work. What an interesting way to go about the writing. This post says a lot about their trust in you and the power of relationship.