Friday, June 28, 2013

A Thank You to You All...

Wow. Wednesday night I sat down to write a blog post. Like every time I write, I have a seed, something that has jumped into my head and inspired, but I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it. I typed as I often do, on the mattress sitting on the floor of Liam’s room. Liam is eight and still likes someone to sit in his room as he falls asleep. While it does take up a chunk of time – about an hour a night – I don’t mind. I have learned long ago that they grown up quickly.

As I typed, Liam twirled my hair. Words flowed out as I thought about what I love about teaching. Believe it or not, it isn’t writing curriculum, unpacking standards, dealing with tests, analyzing data. No, what I like about teaching – what I LOVE about teaching – are the kids. I love building relationships between the students and myself. Getting to know their parents. Realizing what makes the kids tick. Matching kids to the books that will help them see the beauty of reading. That stuff I love.

Wednesday night the inner critic I had written about on Tuesday had taken a vacation, and apparently not to my garden to weed. As I wrote it felt good, it felt right. I remember worrying others might think I was calling them out on reading logs and relationships, because I don’t want to be like that. I write what works for me, what works for my students. Years ago when reading Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer, I remember reading her thoughts on whole class novels. I still used them at the time. I loved that she didn’t make me feel bad for using them, she just gently pushed my thinking. Not surprisingly, about four weeks into the school year I moved away from whole class novels and have never looked back.

Waking up Thursday I saw that many folks had already read the post and responded positively. What a great feeling. All day long I received more messages, comments, retweets, etc. I love seeing a post take off because I know it struck a cord and that inspires conversation.

As I read through comments and responded back, I learned a lot. What I was left with is this feeling of possibility. In a time when there is backlash against teachers, narrowing of curriculum, and more standardized crap than ever before, I felt hopeful. Looking around at my life I am surrounded by educators who are working hard to make a difference. I know teachers who attend conferences on their own dime – some even getting up at 3 am to drive four hours to the first session. I know teachers who spend thousands of dollars buying books for their classroom. I know teachers that participate in chats on Twitter. I could go on and on, but my main takeaway is that I think we are going to be ok. Public education is in a bumpy spot, but we will persevere because all of these educators I know will not give up.

So, if you read my blog, thank you. If you subscribe by email, Feedly, or here on the site, thank you. If you share it, thank you. If you comment, thank you. It is humbling to put your words out there and have such kind things said in return. You all make me want to write, make me want to teach, and make me want to learn. I am a better person for this community and I wanted to reach out and share my thanks with all of you.

Have a wonderful weekend! Blogging might be sporadic this weekend, I am headed to ALA to spend time with friends, rejunivated my spirit, and see Katherine Applegate accept the Newbery for The One and Only Ivan. What a special weekend it will be.