Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reflecting Pool

Dear Friends,

I’m in the thick of an insane Wednesday after having a three day weekend- I know, pretty rough.  What I realize time and time again is how as a teacher my work never ends, and that teaching really parallels writing. Both are careers that can absorb as much time as you will give them.  I’ve got a great piece of fiction going had to pry myself out of my desk and into my car to go to school. I pried myself out of my classroom at four pm so that I could come and snack and keep working. Yes, award me with the Jesus 2013 award.

My students are doing Lit Circles right now, which means that they largely work in groups, do the reading outside of class, and strive to have great discussions. I have a feeling that sex and drinking cough syrup work their way in-between discussion questions, but the circles are growing into the classroom I always wanted. It takes time to plan it so that it comes off right, just like it takes time to write a good story. It’s not just a matter of typing, but of listening. The ability to listen – to my students, to my characters, to myself, to silence– is such a pivotal skill. It requires slowing down. It involves a relaxation that seems to stand in conflict with the things that MUST BE DONE. But, it is only in relaxing that those things can get finished.

The big light bulb from the past three months has been this: if you want to do something, or be something, you have to do it now. There is no vacation coming that can make up for the daily writing needed to develop my skills; There is no individual who would come and do my grading the day I gave the assignments so students would take the work they got the next day seriously (though if that person is out there and wants to work for free please e-mail me); There is no teacher whose plans perfectly fit my students needs and would allow me to start watching The West Wing or season four of Buffy. There are a vast number of people in my extended community who answer my FB messages, e-mails, and forgive my late thank you cards. They send their books, their resources, listen to my manic phone calls that turn into decent lesson plans, and laugh at my poetry when I want it to be funny. Thank you to all of you – you know who you are.

Decide on what you want start now and ask everyone you know for help.  


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