Attention First Grader: You Have a Substitute Teacher.
About a year ago, during a stint as First Grade Substitute, a precocious little boy came up to me during writing and confidently stated that he had "NOTHING" to write about. "Nothing?" I questioned. "You have absolutely no thoughts or ideas or observations? That sounds kind of sad?" and he replied promptly, "The thing is I do not WANT to write." So, the proper sub that I am, I told him it was writing time for 15 more minutes and it was his job to return to his desk and begin writing. "But what will I write about? I do NOT want to write!" he pleaded. Whether my response is sassy or brilliant, I'll leave up to you, but nonetheless I suggested that he write about and explain how much he did NOT want to write. He went back to his desk and promptly filled a few pages with sentence upon sentence explaining why he did NOT want to write and how he had NOTHING to write about. I chuckled and continued counting down the minutes until the end of the day.
Latter that week his classroom teacher told me about how he proudly came up to her the following day and told her all about the teacher who said he could write about "not wanting to write" and how he thought it was so silly and wanted to show her the work. At first I didn't know whether it was a compliment or a cause for concern (regarding my patience with children), but sitting here now, with my head pounding, too many hours of work behind me and many more projects still left on my list, I understand where he is coming from. Because tonight, I did NOT want to write. I just wanted to curl up in bed, maybe read, probably just close my eyes and listen to nothing. But now that I have written, I feel better... calmer... more prepared for sleep and much more excited about the adventures ahead.