Name: Edna Shoemaker
Grades Taught: I am currently Teacher on Special Assignment for ELA 7-12. I have taught ELA grades 7-12 and have supported writing via demo lessons and team teaching in grades K-12.
Subjects Taught: English
School / District: Twin Rivers Unified School District
Local Writing Project: Area 3 Writing Project (A3WP)
Awards & Recognition
- A3WP Teacher Consultant
I’m not sure I would still be in the profession if it were not for the Writing Project! It has supported me in truly embracing my own life-long learning and is a continual reminder that we are not teaching programs, but rather working with students in support of their learning. This putting students first, front and center always, has allowed me the consistent opportunity to learn from them and with them as we work together, each of us sharing our expertise, beliefs, and insights.
I came into the profession knowing that I could read and comfortably considering myself a “reader.” I also knew that I could write when assigned to do so, but did not write outside of assignments and certainly did not consider or call myself a “writer.” Participation in the Writing Project’s Invitational Leadership Institute changed that, and through the process supported a profound change in me both professionally and personally. Working with my own writing, with a writing group, placed me square in the student seat and supported me in navigating the challenge and celebration of putting my own words to paper. It had me consider purpose, audience, and task in new ways and brought me up against not only gaps in my writing instruction, but also gaps in my writing. I fell in love with the process of writing, whereas previously I was focused solely on the product of writing.
As a “teachers teaching teachers” model of professional development that is grounded in application and student work, my local Writing Project has supported me in continuing to hone my facilitation and presentation skills. Through emphasis on the experiential aspects of writing – we do as we have our students do-- I am reminded that it is in the practice of doing that we become effective in supporting others in doing so as well.
I believe that each and every one of us is a writer, and that - with support - each and every one of us can be an effective writer. I believe that writing is an ultimate “voice and choice” opportunity for students and that it naturally differentiates to support every learner. I believe that writing is both hard work and great fun. I believe that writing is not only an effective means of assessment, it is also a very effective means of learning. I believe that writing is an act of celebration, reflection, rejuvenation. I believe that writing is a human and civil right. I believe our writing is as unique as our fingerprint and everyone has something of import to share. I believe writing brings us closer to our own experience and the experiences of others. I believe that writing is never done; it’s simply due. I believe that writing is an act of humanity, an act of divinity, an act of both resistance and coming home. I believe that writing has the power to transform and inspire both the writer and the reader.
I come back to Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind over and over again because they support writing as practice and process through their connection to life experience -- and provide practical ways to do so. Plus they’re an enjoyable read!