Sunday, July 14, 2013

Week One in the Rear View Mirror

I'm back again at the Northern Virginia Writing Project's Invitational Summer Institute. How many times does one have to do something before it is a tradition? This is my third summer spending four weeks writing and talking about teaching writing with teachers from elementary through college.

At the end of this first week I have a few reflections:

  • I adore my students. It's easy for me to lose sight of this during the school year and easy to get caught up in the chaos, the go, go, go, easy to focus on all the SBIs, SIPs, PLCs, MRAs, DRAs, and SOLs and lose sight of the kids, the actual living, breathing people in my classroom. Removed from them, removed from all that, I can see them clearly. Of course I'm seeing them in my mind but there they are, brilliant, hilarious, stubborn, quirky, frustrating, darling, amazing. There they are, such...people. It saddens me to think about how easy it is to lose sight of their peopleness.
  • I love being with other teachers. There is no question they are my tribe. The teachers I spend time with here, at conferences, online, are all dedicated, thoughtful educators, striving to continually improve. I hope that describes me as well. Time, like this, spent with teachers like these always gives me hope for the future of American education.
  • I like to write. That's another thing that frequently gets lost during the school year. Be it the freedom of morning pages (the 30 minutes we spend writing in silence to start each day) or the assigned writings during demonstration lessons, I truly enjoy it. I believe I write more during the four weeks of the ISI each summer than I do through all the rest of the year. The only challenge is rereading it all and doing something meaningful with it.
  • I enjoy presenting. I've done it twice in the past week and while I'm always nervous, I'm also always excited and enjoy it. In some ways it's like planning a great lesson, laying it out to build the way you want it to. It also means I get to have conversations with all these brilliant people about my teaching passions, the things I am excited to discuss. Plus, I get to show off my amazing students.

2 comments:

Rejane Balisi said...
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Sarah said...

Re 1): I love the kids in our classroom so much, not despite but because of their imperfections, and I miss them dreadfully during the summers.