Letters to TuviaY2 #21: I Held My Breath (10-18-16)


Morning T,

I’m up with Morning Joe.  Yes, he’s still an idiot and yes, if you were sitting across from me. the volume would be low enough for you to concentrate on the front page of  NT Times ,but this morning there would be a different conversation.

Yesterday was a crazy, exciting day that I moved through with a bit of fear and a lack of breath.  I was up early, revising my Keynote for an afternoon PD performance.   For the last few weeks we’ve have been getting to know a group of 20 elementary teachers, K-5 at this new school for the HVWP, watching them drag themselves into an elementary  library with only kid-sized chairs and tables. With their  bags laden with work and snacks for two more hours with us, I  pray that what we have to offer them is worth their time.

I  vividly remember horrible  PD at the end of my school day and I didn’t have a mobile device for distraction. I pray that they won’t feel the need to be distracted. But we have heard good things from the Assistant Superintendent that our group has been excited and surprised by the writing opportunities we have been sharing with them, the strategies we’ve been offering to experiment with in their classrooms.  I start breathing.

But we have a great challenge ahead- 75 teachers will be joining us.  Yes, 75 teachers coming from three different schools to work with us in the cafeteria of the main building for two hours. 75 teachers… and I arrive extra early to make sure the LCD projector is working with me.  Wires everywhere but somehow I find the right cables and replace their tiny speakers with my solid  backups that live in the trunk of my car.   My dad is very proud that his daughter keeps a spare pair of speakers and extension cords in her trunk!

Yes, tech is working! Yes, teachers were arriving on time. Yes, I have help- a wonderful elementary teacher is co-facilitating with me. Yes, great support from the Asst. Superintendent, with us from the entire session.  Yes, we are prepared but it is clear that we really won’t have two full hours for the session we have. What???? Quickly, Grace and I regroup  and cut our plan in half, focusing on the meat and potatoes segment  that will offer  group time to collaborate in teams, creating 5 image stories with titles and captions each group with the same images creating their own stories from photos of our trip to Spain.  Of course I keep that to myself until all stories are created with freedom to dream. I love watching them.  Andrea and I created this workshop years ago and even now the sound eruption is music. I’m really breathing now as I pass the mic from group to group as they share their stories and their process.  They write a bit… and consider how they might apply this strategy when they are back with their students.  I share my video from my work with Andrea.  I miss Paul and Lucas and Jevina and Jenn…

Now I think pretty well on my feet but honestly,  having a partner to trouble shot along with me, adds so much more the work.  The notes above came from  Grace’s scripting of teacher reflections. I can only write now on a keyboard.

It’s so good to breathe as I write.  Actually, I’ve been breathing since I left the school at the end of our less than two hours.  I got into my car and wanted to call you, just to say, I’m on my way home and it went great!  Where do you want to go for dinner?  But instead, I started breathing deeply , enjoying the silent ride home, enjoying the panoramic  vistas overflowing  with autumn colors.

So good to be breathing again even if I don’t have you breathing with me…

Miss our conversations, T.

Bonnie S.



8 thoughts

  1. Breathing is good and after a well run workshop, even if the time was cut, is relaxing and exhilarating. It is wonderful that you continue to share your ideas and expertise with other teachers.

  2. Wow! You and your co-presenter think well on your feet, Bonnie. Sorry for the cut. Those teachers missed out, but it also sounds like you gave them much to take away, too. I do understand about the wanting to share, always happening, and I will remember to breathe too, and take in the beauty around me. Thanks for that, too.

  3. What a treat for the teachers! It’s always nerve-wracking when you begin working with a new group. I hope you get to continue exploring writing with these teachers and the time doesn’t get altered!

  4. Always a relief to get the tech issues solved. And then a new challenge – less time than you anticipated. I like seeing how your breath followed you through the day, even as you faced the end of the day without Tuvia to call. Glad deep breathing allowed you to stay in the moment and enjoy the beauty around you. Hugs!

  5. Unless you do presentations of the sort you describe it is hard to convey the amount of work such planning and then re-planning takes. Great presenters do both. How lucky for those teachers to have you and Grace.

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