I raced into the school bathroom and dashed into a stall, passing two small girls at the sink. Phew! I had just moments before I had to be on stage in front of a large assembly of kids, but this was a necessary stop.
Then I realized that there was complete silence from the area of the sink, although I could still see the girls through the gap next to the stall door. I heard the outer door push open, and another girl joined the first two.
“She’s in there,” one of the sink girls loudly whispered. “Who?” asked New Arrival.
“The author lady. She’s right in there. We saw her.”
Next thing I knew, a pair of eyes were fastened to the other side of the gap, as New Arrival took her opportunity to catch a glimpse of me — the “famous” person visiting her school.
I may not have to ﬁght off paparazzi like a movie star, but I’m still spy-worthy when my knickers are down. And roadies don’t load my car, but oftentimes I feel like a rock star before the day of a school visit is over.
That’s because kids make even writers of relative obscurity feel like visiting royalty. I’ve been sung to, prayed over, hugged, photographed, and begged for my autograph. I’ve received thank you notes that tell me I’ve changed somebody’s life.
Just one visit like that can keep me motivated to write for weeks. Which leads me to some pretty simple advice: make writing a standing ovation accomplishment in your classroom. Talk about authors as superheroes. Turn students’ writing milestones into major celebrations. Encourage your students to cheer for a friend’s well-written story or poem.
Treat your students like rock stars when they write well, and who knows what writing results you might inspire.