National Writing Project

Our Writing and Learning Connect Us: Chris Tsang

Publication: NWP 2007 Annual Report
Date: 2007

Summary: Meet Chris Tsang from Harbor School, Boston, Massachusetts. He is a part of the Boston Writing Project and Urban Sites Network.

 

"I cannot overestimate the value of being with other writing project colleagues," says Chris Tsang, a seventh and eighth grade humanities teacher at Harbor School in Boston, Massachusetts. "It's like refueling my tank every time we gather together."

In 2006, after his fourth year of teaching, Chris attended the Boston Writing Project summer institute, where he learned strategies that are particularly useful for his ELL students and his students with learning disabilities. "We write for an audience and we write to be heard," he explains. "Feedback from adults and peers is very important." At the same time, turning fearful writers into frequent writers is high on Chris' list of priorities. "Five minutes with a journal every day is particularly satisfying for students because they are free to have a voice."

Being with urban teachers gives my work context. I have opportunities to share practices and to receive mentorship.

Gaining confidence and skills have paid off for Chris' students, who took on a major project interviewing refugees from Laos and creating narratives of their lives. These narratives are being added to a national traveling exhibit. "I want my students to see themselves in the curriculum, in the literature they read and the history they study," Chris says.

Chris is a member of the NWP Urban Sites Network Leadership Team and his site belongs to the Urban Sites Network, established in 1988 to connect teachers and writing project leaders nationwide to improve the teaching and learning of children in urban schools.

"Being with urban teachers gives my work context. I have opportunities to share practices and to receive mentorship, especially since I am a younger teacher," says Chris.

For Chris, there is another benefit, beyond the practical one of meeting with teachers fromacross the country. "I feel appreciated as a teacher. It's always encouraging to go to writing project events. People just keep saying, 'Thank you.'"

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