Yesterday, as I re-read and shared eight year olds’ writing with pre-service teachers, I realized the sacredness of the writing space shared in the elementary classroom that provides a place for the telling. The relationships that the writing forged are still fresh in my memory. Chase provided a glimpse of his escape when the “neighborhood was fighting” and Colton told about his “knowing he was special” when his single parent father rescued him from getting “drowneded” at a nearby water park. Lane’s advice to “not run away” if you are considering it and Emily’s goat stories contribute to the shared experiences of learning about life that matters together. These seemingly quotidian stories retain the extraordinary moments that aren’t noticed as out of place in the daily-ness of an ordinary day.
My heart was full of the sharing of these moments but also ached for the seemingly normalization of the “just stories” that teachers may not have time to hear because standards have to be met and upheld in not so flexible ways. Yesterday at another time of the day, I sat with four to twelve year old tellers who did have the luxury of telling not so ordinary, ordinary happenings of the week. In this “out of school” space standards are different. Instead of “we have to stay on the same page” we encourage hearing about your different page. All topics are “appropriate” and “not meeting the standard” is encouraged with the same acceptance as accelerated performance. And, you can talk more than once.