I sat, last night, on my couch catching up on episodes of American Idol and The Voice and I couldn’t do anything more. I did want to write a Slice, to digest my work at the school district I’ve been working with as a Hudson Valley Writing Project PD Facilitator, but I couldn’t. Two days on the road, and all I could do was make a trip or two to the kitchen for bowls of popcorn and glasses of seltzer with a touch of cran.
I was tried and my mouth was sore from an afternoon periodontist checkup but I was feeling peaceful. Two days of work with teachers and the magic of the writing circle still brings me to tears of joy. Writing into the Day with Peter Elbow’s Lopping strategy- never fails to get teachers writing… short bursts of writing… and soon I extended the bursts… 5 minutes, 10, 15 and the silence is gorgeous… the clicking keys, the scratching pens/pencils on paper as we finished one last loop focused on a reflection of the experience, the sharing began and boxes of tissues appeared.
Teachers wrote about a student who had inspired them, taught them something about teaching… pushed them beyond their comfort zone… One after the other… read some and then shared the rest from their life experiences… what they didn’t get a change to get down on paper…. I shared my bad boy who found his humanity on the stage although he might have returned to the dark side…(I don’t want to know for sure if he’s become a Trumper).
It was our last full team session and I wanted this day to be the one to capture the trust we have built since October. This was our morning activity and that was enough. The afternoon was filled with an inspiring workshop led by my good friend and HVWP Director, Tom Meyer- a rich experience with Found Poetry, Found Questions, Content Circles… strategies to allow students to connect with non-fiction texts before they write the dreaded essay… writing to learn and as the teachers responded so positively in the morning, they continued to engage with Tom in the afternoon. And cheers to Tom. He was there after putting down Charley, a old beloved family dog, I remember as a brand new pup.
Three years at this school and I feel good, still proud to be doing the work of the HVPW.
It seems so simple really, to be a teacher of writing, you need to be a writer and write and share with your students in real time… simple... NOT! but essential.