Choreography of Writing

Last week as I made my commute from the farm to school on a day that I would be teaching a writing lesson, I thought of a metaphor for teaching strategic, organized writing. 

While we still have remnants of a teaching era that spoke of formulaic writing like it was sour milk on their upper lip, we have evolved from that era all the wiser. 

Our wisdom led me to create a  metaphorical anecdote that has resonated nicely, so I thought I would share. 

Someone who is a gifted, beautiful dancer will look good dancing no matter what.  But put that dance talent to choreography and the results are awe inspiring, professional grade. 

Someone who can’t dance at all repulses the observer with the Elaine Bennis-esque movement.  Yet choreograph that person’s movement, and it can be nice. 

Providing strategies for development does the same for writers.  Beautifully gifted writers transcend their talent with  organizational choreography, while those less talented can still dance on the stage when their phrasing is well organized by the choreography of strategic development.

Further, those who are exposed to expert choreographical strategies can utilize those strategies in creating their own original compositions. Even the less innately talented can take away strategies with which they have become savvy if not expert through practice and be more beautiful in their expression.

Supporting Needs

It is a central part of the human condition to have needs that can only be addressed with outside support.  As educators, we always seek to identify what each child needs and provide that support so that each can achieve, succeed, be happy,  and share their gifts with the world.  

Whether a bright child needs support in making good social choices, or the socially savvy child needs support with handwriting, it is incumbent upon us to support the needs of all our children. 

I am often asked by young students “Mr. Rothstein, what do you do here?”   Or I have children who think I am only there when someone gets in trouble. 

I wouldn’t have left the classroom and athletic environs I loved so much for such a drab existence.  Rather, as I often explain in response, my role
is to make sure all students and teachers feel safe and comfortable so that teachers can teach and students can learn.  

Each day, we look to ensure these integral Maslowian needs.  The actionables in this important endeavor take many forms. The consistent piece is the mindset that what we are doing is what is ultimately best for our students.  

Sometimes, the pursuit of this daily objective requires difficult conversations with students, teachers, and parents.  But we rest assured that as passionate and committed educators, the outcome, the end goal is worth tackling the challenging moments with optimism. 

In doing so, we likewise model for our students the importance of conviction, of having courage to know a challenge faces us, yet we proceed with energy and confidence that fearlessly charging forward offers opportunities for meaningful results for everyone involved. 

Does everything always work out? Not remotely.  Yet the growth minded, positive, student – centered approach always yields feelings of purpose and accomplishment regardless of outcome.