Fake it till you make it. We’ve all heard it. We all know people who do it. We’ve all done it ourselves. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. I thought about this yesterday as I stood by the window in my classroom while my lunch was heating up. I looked out onto a playground filled with first and second graders reveling in the spring-like weather. Then I noticed three boys by the basketball hoop. Dribbling, passing the ball, taking shots. I thought about how much fun they were having, even though they didn’t come close to making a basket. They were practicing the moves they’d seen other, more seasoned players make.
As I watched, I thought about what else in life we approximate until we “make it.” Adulting, parenting, you name it, we fake it. Eventually we gain a certain level of competence and confidence. We don’t feel like we’re flying by the seat of our pants ALL the time! But what about our students? How much approximating do they do every day? It exhausts me to think about it.Which makes me wonder about our expectations. Perfect, polished writing is a challenge for us all. Why would we expect first graders to write flawlessly? We shouldn’t. What we should do is help them approximate being a writer, to copy the moves their favorite authors make. Sometimes their imperfections show us the most about their learning, about them as learners. So let’s make our classrooms places for taking risks that help us grow. That’s how we make it.
Thank you to everyone at Two Writing Teachers for this space where we can all take risks.