The Power of an Audience


I am excited to be a commenter for this year’s Spring Student Blogging ChallengeSue Wyatt deserves kudos aplenty  for continuing to organize, maintain, and generate enthusiasm throughout this bi-annual event.  She is amazing!

I can’t remember the first year my students and I participated, but I do recall a particular response from Ms. Wyatt—her upbeat and unmistakable greeting “G’day” Aussie that she is—to one of my student’s posts.  James had asked his brother Matt to write in his stead whether because he was suffering “blogging fatigue” or because the prompt was something about siblings.  What distinctly endures is the positive response Matt received as his brother’s “guest blogger,” a testament to his lively voice and natural connection with readers.  Even after all this time, Matt’s poignant description of him and James sharing Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt together at the end of their long days, remains.  Ms. Wyatt urged him to start his own blog, and I echoed her when I spoke with Matt, a former student of mine.

For a time, Matt served as a local reporter, covering our elementary school and his alma mater.  Our relationship as adults and friends began to develop.  Then one day he asked me to write a recommendation letter for him; he had decided to apply to graduate school.  I had been Matt’s eighth grade teacher.  Even though he had completed his undergraduate degree, he had not forgotten our time together as writers almost a decade earlier.  He remembered an essay he had written,  about the value of his community.  (He had also written several apologies that his mom had required of him; our relationship was not without its struggles!)  He remembered…

Today Matt attends graduate school in Philadelphia, a MA candidate in creative writing.  When I wrote his recommendation letter I referred to Sue Wyatt’s comments during the Student Blogging Challenge.  Matt found an audience there.

To all of the students who will be joining the Challenge:  Who knows where this writing will lead?  I eagerly await my opportunity to hear from you from wherever you hail, to begin our conversation.  There is a future here.

3 thoughts on “The Power of an Audience”

  1. This was such a great teacher moment for you. It is hard for us to realize just how much we impact our students, even in small ways. Congratulations on making such a lasting impact on this student. Thank you for sharing this uplifting story with us!

  2. Matt was lucky to have you as such an inspiring teacher. Audience is something that many young writers struggle with. I appreciate that the blogging challenge gives students a place to find someone share their thoughts with.

  3. How special that you got to play such an important role for this student…and probably many others! This is a testament to the power of writing! Congratulations and thank you for sharing!

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