If I had to name the most important thing I’ve gained from over a decade of being a part of UNCCWP it would be the gift of the image of possibility.
The possibility of teacher “real” writing and “real writing instruction” in a North Carolina 10th grade English classroom where I was “responsible” for the State Reading Test, the PSAT AND the State Writing Test . . .
The possibility of nurturing my own writer self and publishing a book, and some articles along with some literacy essays and even a poem . . .
The possibility of researching my own classroom and inquiring into the thinking of my students WITH my students . . .
The possibility of working and thinking and writing collaboratively with other smart teachers . . .
But since last Monday, a student of another National Writing Project teacher from Oakland, CA has given me powerful images of possibility.
Last Monday, G Reyes and some of his students from Youth Roots were the keynote speakers at the UNCCWP Spring Writing Conference. A young man named Eric, spoke to us with eloquence about the power of writing and digital composition in his life and the life of his friends. The kid explained hegemony in a way that I’ve never been able to. And I mean he used the word . . . hegemony . . . with the ease and knowing of ordering your eggs just the way you want them for breakfast. This kid gets Gramsci!
And then his teacher, with his permission, told his story. Eric is that kid. He’s a frequenter or the principal’s office and his teacher (and principal) say they are just trying to convince him that he’s “not grown yet.” That he doesn’t HAVE to do it alone. That he can count on them.
And That kid stood in front of a room full of teachers and said, “This is what you need to know!” And every one of us furiously scratched his every word onto our note pads, daybooks, tablets . . . and etched them into our memories.
Powerful, POWERFUL possibility right there.
And that dear elected officials is WHY NWP needs to be funded.