Writing has always come easy to me. From the time I learned to write, I never seemed to have difficulty putting what was in my mind onto paper. I remember each year in elementary school, we would be required to submit a story for our Young Author’s Project. It was a writing competition that focused on the writing process. Students would brainstorm, pre-write, create rough drafts, edit each others’ work, revise, and then submit a final copy. 25 years later, I still remember that process thanks to this program, and the talented and passionate teachers who were a part of it. It made a lasting impact on me, and has been one of the most important educational tools throughout my life.
Since my time in elementary school, I have comfortably written hundreds of essays. When I was deployed to Bosnia, I relied on my writing to submit numerous intelligence reports explaining our conclusions and predictions related to the threats against US interests. As an author, I have relied on my writing not just to create books and share my experiences, but to build my website, communicate with my readers, and to market my books.
The Next Generation:
As a teacher, I rely heavily on writing. I often tell my students that if they can write, they can do anything. By following the writing process I learned in elementary school, students are forced to think about what they are trying to say. They are encouraged to take care in choosing their words and to pay attention to the flow and format of their writing. As a student learns to master this process, they become more articulate in not just their thoughts, but also their words. Our conversations improve, and their investment in themselves and their learning increases. I am forever thankful for my wonderful and talented teachers from Highland Park Elementary. Their passion, and their lessons have had a lifelong impact on my life, as well as the lives of my students.