Becoming a Confident Teacher-Writer

Donnetta NorrisBlog, Lead Better


  • Teachers who teach reading should read, and teachers who teach writing should write.
  • Become a confident teacher-writer by getting a notebook, committing to writing every day, searching for opportunities to write, writing for yourself, and surrounding yourself with other writers.

Teachers, ponder these two ideas. 1. Teachers who teach reading should be teachers who read. 2. Teachers who teach writing should be teachers who write. I believe both statements are equally true. However, I wonder if writing teachers consider the implications of not being a writer.

Consequently, I am a proponent that teachers who write (journal, notebook, poetry, short stories, etc.) are more effective teachers of writing. Unfortunately, I know many writing teachers who don’t write. In fact, I was once a teacher who didn’t write. Ultimately,  fear and lack of confidence kept me from even trying to write. 

So, how did I overcome and learn to be a confident teacher-writer? I focused on 5 specific writing habits. These writing habits could work for you, as well.

I also believe you will begin to rethink how you assess/evaluate student writing the more you experience the process as a teacher-writer. Therefore, teacher, I challenge you to begin your own writing journey today. Click To Tweet

Becoming a Confident Teacher-Writer: Get a Notebook.

Your notebook doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. In fact, I repurposed one of my son’s old drawing journals when I began my writing journey. In the beginning, the notebook itself is not as important as its purpose. Aim to fill the pages with your writing.

Becoming a Confident Teacher-Writer: Commit to Writing Every Day.

A word, a sentence, a list, random thoughts, current feelings…it all counts as writing.  However, learn to give yourself grace if you don’t write. Life gets in the way, or we simply forget. Nevertheless, don’t quit. Simply start again. There’s always tomorrow.

Becoming a Confident Teacher-Writer: Search for Opportunities To Write.

I found writing opportunities on social media platforms. For example,  the “100 Days of Summer Writing” group hosted by Angela Keller and Deborah Griese posted a writing opportunity on Twitter two summers ago. In addition, Sarah J. Donovan,, hosts a monthly Open Write 5-day poetry challenge. In fact, you could use your current writing instruction as an opportunity to write alongside your students.

Becoming a Confident Teacher-Writer: Write for Yourself. Share When You Are Ready.

When I first started writing, I experienced anxiety every time I thought about sharing my writing. Basically, I’m a perfectionist. As a result, I always want my writing to be “right” and “perfect.” Unfortunately, my fears were based on a self-imposed notion of both what right and perfect are.

From the beginning, it will help to remember that “you get to decide what your writing looks like.” You are in charge of what goes into your notebook. Challenge yourself to accept that your words have value. It’s quite okay to write for an audience of one…YOU!

Becoming a Confident Teacher-Writer: Surround Yourself with Other Writers.

In my writing group, Time To Write, hosted by Jennifer Laffin at, I get to write with a group of people who genuinely care about me as a writer, as a teacher-writer. First, they hold me accountable for the goals I set. Secondly, they encourage me to stretch myself beyond what I think I can do as a writer. In addition, my writing friends possess a wealth of ideas, strategies, and book recommendations.

The Facebook group #100daysofnotebookingandbeyond is hosted by Michelle Haseltine. Writers notebook about any topic of their choosing every day for 100 days, and beyond. Then, they post a picture of their notebook page(s) or write a post about their writing on the group’s Facebook page. I love being a member of this group because I get a small glimpse into the lives of my writing friends. It’s also fun to leave comments on others’ posts, as well as read the comments others leave for you.

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What’s the Point?

These 5 habits have made me into the teacher-writer I am today, the teacher-writer my scholars deserve. As you begin to write regularly and create writing habits, I think you will see differences in your writing instruction as well. For instance, as you write with your students, you will be creating authentic mentor texts that your students can use to guide their own writing. Additionally, you, as a teacher-writer, will have a unique perspective of what some student-writers experience during the writing process. As a result, you are able to respond with empathy as you address issues such as writer’s block or the struggle to find just the right words.

I also believe you will begin to rethink how you assess/evaluate student writing the more you experience the process as a teacher-writer. Therefore, teacher, I challenge you to begin your own writing journey today.

This blog post is an extensive revision of a previously-published post written for Teach Write, LLC.

About Donnetta Norris

Donnetta Norris is a 2nd grade teacher in Arlington, TX. She has been an educator for the last 10 years. She enjoys reading professional, children’s, and MG literature. Donnetta loves being in the classroom with her Scholars and is passionate about improving her writing craft as a teacher-writer. She also blogs at TeacherReaderWriter and The Rogue Scholar.