I made myself vulnerable in front of my students this week. I shared with them a piece of writing that was in desperate need of revision, and I asked them to give me their critiques. It was a humbling experience. It helped me to remember the anxiety and heart-racing nerves I experienced whenever I used to get a paper back from a teacher or professor in school. But it also helped the kids to see that ALL writers, even their "all-knowing" teacher, are not perfect. I showed them my flaws, right there on the page for them to fix.
It was so tempting to edit out some of the more abominable sections of the piece, but I decided it was more important for them to make their own discoveries that all writers need to revise. It's not enough for me to just preach the virtues of revision. I needed to make it real to them. Given their willingness to tell me exactly what I needed to fix, I think they got it. With the school year ending next week, it's good to know they've been paying attention to me this whole time.