Last night I met with a small group of teacher-writer-colleagues from my district.
We started our discussion by writing words that resonate with us.
fierce happenstance reverence awe perceive magic hope uplift inspire contemplate possibility believe
I don’t know why this was hard or why some of these words came to me (happenstance? Go figure. Must just be the sound of it. What other reason could there be?).
Then we had to pick the word that was most significant to us.
for in every aspect of my life, I am hopeful. If I could impart one thing to others, it would be hope.
Hope is vital to the human spirit.
My colleagues and I talked about our work with students, other teachers, and our own writing. Where we’ve been, where we are now, where we want to go.
Going home, the lively discussion and energy circles round my mind. Something in there is trying to find a landing place.
The “something” is tied somehow to student reactions . . . the ooooohhhh moment that’s such music to a teacher’s ears . . . like when a student connects a thing he/she loves to a book, or to writing . . . this week in fourth grade, it was me asking Why is opinion writing important? with a student responding You write about what you feel deep in your heart and another student saying Like music. I can write about why I love music. I want to write songs and me saying, Well, maybe you need to write your opinion piece AS a song.
And then I think, fierce is an odd word for me to pick yet it was the first one that came to mind. Why is that?
Fierce love like mother for child, fierce dedication to excellence, fierce desire for learning. Maybe that’s why.
The something circling in my mind is materializing. I think it’s another word . . .
Not that word.
The word is—well, awfully simple:
Get them reading
Get them writing
Get them talking
Then get out of the way.
Oh, I get it.
My colleagues and I talked about that.
Get out of the box.
Because that’s where all the
We don’t make it happen.
but only after we tear down the walls
of windowless boxes
so that they can see the glimmering horizon beckoning
and be free to
what is over there.
And that they can
if they only
And that comes only from the stirring the ocean within
Not by sea-spray on the wind without
never never by