My last Writer Coach session of this school year was this week. Coaches brought snacks to share with the 8th graders they’ve been coaching all year, and the 8th graders gave us thank you cards.
Of course it was also our last day to work with the kids on their biggest project of the year—the I-Search paper. Beforehand we learned that most of the kids had finished, but a few still needed actual tutoring. We would know which ones had not yet handed theirs in by their names on the chalkboard.
Three of the six names on the board were my kids. So while most of the coaches would be eating brownies and strawberries and celebrating with their 8th graders, I would be cramming as much writing help as I could into my 25 minutes with each student.
But we still had fun.
Raul told me the latest story he’d heard about steroid use (the topic of his paper) while I desperately tried to figure out which of the many sections of his project I could best help him with in the short time allotted. Then he handed me the card he’d made for me. It read:
Thank you, Tanya Grove, for being my writer coach. I will thank you with a hug.
Then he opened his arms, flashed his big smile, and delivered the promised hug. Right then I knew we wouldn’t finish his I-Search paper, but I also knew it would be okay. We got a few paragraphs written, and I gave him a rough outline for a third one that I hoped he could write on his own.
After he loaded up his snack plate, I accompanied him back to his classroom, and we said goodbye.
I hope I see him again one day and see who he grows up to be.
Sofia with the beautiful eyes had missed a lot of school due to mono, so she had been granted an extension on her I-Search, relieving some of the pressure. She shared what she had so far, and I helped her divide page-long blocks of text into paragraphs.
It seemed petty, though, to quibble over mechanics when she was portraying the very real situation of a father forcing his 14-year-old daughter into prostitution.
She handed me a construction paper card that thanked all the people who had coached her that year.
Ideally, a writer coach is assigned the same three students for the year per class, so relationships and trust can develop. One of my students moved to Sweden in April, so for the last three sessions, I subbed in for absent writer coaches. Apparently Sofia never really had a regular writer coach—she had just been shuffled around to whoever had a slot open.
But she still had a thank you card ready for whichever coach would be helping her that day.
I’m glad that I could be there for her that day.
If you are interested in supporting the Writer Coach Connection program, (which is part of the Community Alliance for Learning), just click on this link. http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/writercoach-connection/rwat
Part 2 tomorrow!