Last month I saw a tweet by Jess Lifshitz that referred to this question. She uses it as a writing prompt at the beginning of the school year with students. If I had a class of students this year, you know I’d be using it too!
But it’s a question that today I ask you. In fact, I challenge you to sit for ten minutes–yes, you can spare ten minutes–and freewrite. To make it easier if you get stuck, turn the question into a statement. “I carry ______ into the classroom.” Fill in that blank and then expand on that idea or explain what you mean. But when your brain stops with that thought, rewrite the prompt and fill in the blank with something else. Do this as many times as needed to fill the ten minutes.
Even though I don’t have my own class this year, I did this freewrite myself but changed ‘classroom’ into ‘school year.’ Some of my thoughts were as expected and yet the longer I wrote, the more profound the ideas. I discovered what I believe to be my strengths, acknowledged a sadness, and an insecurity too. All in ten minutes time.
I hope this exercise affirms all of the wonderful skills, talents, and qualities that you bring into your classroom each day. When your classroom fills with students, try it with them too!