Dear Student

Dear Student,

I don’t know what to say to you. I spent all day talking to your classmates about their writing. Dozens of times I reminded them to add sensory details and to show me what was happening instead of telling me. I asked probing questions and pushed them to do more than they thought they were capable of.

One of your classmates wrote about being in a deep depression because her mom was dying, only to find out her cousin was killed. Another student wrote about hanging out with his brother when he ended up in the middle of a shootout – bullets whizzing by his body. Yet another cried as she drafted a story about her brother being on the run from the law.

I want you to grow as a writer. I appreciate you feel vulnerable enough to tell me your story. But how do I respond when you tell me you found your mother dead before school one morning? In what world can I encourage you to “fix your grammar” and “add more detail” when you already told me there was blood underneath her head on the floor?

I don’t know what to tell you. There’s nothing I can give you. I don’t know how to walk the line between the academic parts of your writing and the emotional intensity of your story. I expended all of that mental energy already.

And yet, when you come into my class in pain, I expect you to perform. I want you to put aside that feeling. I want you to sit down and stop bothering your neighbor without really knowing what’s going on in your head.

Have patience with me. I’m trying my best – just like we all are. I want you to have the brightest future and I believe being a good writer can help you achieve it. I just don’t know if I’m capable of giving you what you need.

With love,

Mrs. B