Sunday, January 4, 2015

Embracing Procrastination

I have had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas break, but as going back to work on Monday looms over my head, so too does the knowledge that I still have 40 more midterm essays to grade before grades are due on Tuesday.

I fully admit that I am procrastinating at this task. But you see, I've had so many books to read and friends to visit and naps to take! 

Another reason why it's taking me so long to grade my students' midterm essays (besides being a total procrastinator that gets easily distracted? What's that? Click bait? Cute puppy bellies? Dogs riding on Roombas? SQUIRREL!) I'm actually basking in the glow of the brilliant insights my students have discovered about their own selves as writers.

To read things like:

I feel safe and secure in your class. - Hannah S.

But most importantly, with the writers notebook, I learned that while you’re jotting down all your thoughts about that one topic, you’re actually teaching yourself. You’re teaching yourself new words, new formats of writing, and even about the topic you’re writing about. - Lauren G.

At the beginning of the year I HATED reading... I used to read only Dr. Seuss, but Mitch Albom has me reading his book, For One More Day. I am actually in to it. I’m bewildered that you, Mrs. Shaum, tried so hard to get me to read. You have succeeded. You have altered my mind actually read. THANK YOU! English is not that bad. I might just like it. You have made it easier for me to succeed and grow as a writer. - Jacob S.

While we were doing NaNoWriMo, the world I knew was shedding, and I was soon receiving a new one. I didn’t know how to deal with such an experience. I felt incapable of explaining to anyone what was happening to me. But during NaNoWriMo, the stress, the anxiety, everything that would build up, just tumbled back down when I was writing. I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening, and I didn’t want to. My hands trembling trying to form words about how I was feeling couldn’t keep a pen steady. But in class, surrounded by people, I could just pour my emotions into the keyboard. And when my fingers started moving they wouldn’t stop. To say NaNoWriMo was the most important assignment I’ve ever done, would be an understatement. Maybe I didn’t learn the most from it, but the purpose of it is irrelevant. I needed it at the exact time I got it. - Erin R.

It's hard to just plow through and move onto the next essay after reading words like that.

So I am going to sit here and embrace procrastination. I am going to be okay with the fact that I will always be someone who pulls things out at the last minute. Because while I'm busy avoiding the task at hand, I'm also learning and growing and basking in the growth of my students. (And also screwing around.)


  1. Isn't it amazing what kids will say if we give them a chance? I love my district's portfolio assessment (still a work-in-progress) because it allows students to really express what they've learned and how they're thinking differently because of the work that we did.

  2. The written words of students, particularly those that are deeply engaged in the learning process, present the single most inspiring moments of my own teaching career. These words are no different, and I think you should feel extremely proud that they were given to you. They are a gift, a moment of real learning that makes nearly anything seem possible.

    "I could just pour my emotions into the keyboard. And when my fingers started moving they wouldn’t stop." These are the words that get me. There is nothing better than a student writer, especially one that knows how important the act of writing can be for their own growth. This student understands just how powerful the writing process can be. She understands that this is not just a skill within one class, it is life skill.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    P.S. This comment is a part of the #C4C15 project. Find out more here: