Was the journey worth taking?
Reflection is one of the most important things I do with my students, because my goal is to help them grow as writers, humans, and critical thinkers and reflecting about our journey (both the lessons learned from the past and goals we have set for the future) is essential. I know that reflecting on my own journey as a writer, human, and critical thinker (as well as a teacher and leader) is an important part of my own growth and development.
All my students wrap up our semester’s work with a long form reflection using one of the formats that I use for my own reflection. I like to give my first year writers a lot of choice about the form of their reflection and we always spend at least one full class session writing in preparation for the more formal reflection essay.
As my first year writers are also in the process of wrapping up their What If projects (the practical demonstration that will pair with their reflection to demonstrate what they have learned this semester), we began with After the Reading by Tiana Clark. I wanted my students to consider that sometimes (often?) manifestos are not perfect and polished, sometimes they ramble and stray from the intended path. I reminded my students that the way we feel about our own work is complicated (our writing can hold our grief, joy, and rage).
We then turned to Everything Needs Fixing by Karla Cordero and I invited my students to think about this journey as a toolbox that I have filled with the tools I think they might need to take on their journey as writers. I suggested they explore this metaphor by considering the tools that were important to them and what tools they still need to acquire. . What tool(s) are most important to you? What tool(s) do you still need to acquire?
Our final invitation was inspired by Lessons by Vanessa Stauffer to consider the memories and lessons that creased our brains this semester. And then we wrapped up by asking the question: Was the journey worth taking?