As they worked on the latest drafts of their writing assignments, I put a list of resources for the students on the board. I inventoried the four exemplary pieces of writing they had, the how-to mini-lessons, and the section of the text which showed the proper format for friendly letters. The last item was me, their teacher, and I took a moment as I went over the list to remind them that I hoped they would view me in that way, as a resource, an expert in writing and literature, there to help them become better writers and readers. "When I have to spend my time telling you not to poke the kid next to you, you're wasting a valuable resource," I said. "You're treating me more like a babysitter than a teacher."
There were some nods, a couple of shrugs, and a few blank stares, but one student looked very confused. "But wait..." he started, "can't you do both?"