I am not going to beat myself up. And I know none of you will either. But I haven’t been writing here. I haven’t been writing NaNoWriMo either. I finally got some time to write and I was too tired. The only reason I’m writing now is because we have an hour wait to be seated for dinner. I thought I should be productive. (I knew I should have brought my ipad!). But as you know, I haven’t been writing in public. It’s been too long. Somehow I’ve got to figure this out. A colleague or two have been toying with the idea of doing National Boards. I really would like to try again, but don’t know how in the world I can make it happen. So for now. I will try to write in public more often. (Baby steps to everyday) And for now it will be badly. (Baby steps with that too).
I ran into some hiccups and have been silent for a week. I have the post in my head, but it’s still not here. Here’s what happened.
I didn’t have anything to say.
I was behind in reading my RSS feed and so I had no material. I’m not to the point where I have a multitude of original sources to talk about. So once I realized I didn’t have anything to say, then I had something to talk about. But then a day became two days and I let life take over again.
So here I am again, writing poorly in public. Everyday part 2.
Well, I started the school year with good intentions. I looked back often at the renewed page and the first post of the school year and I thought, “Wow, I really should work on this.” Guess what? I was right. I should do it. But is wasn’t until I was cleaning out my Google Reader that I came across this blog post by Karl Fisch. In this post Karl references Seth Godin’s post. (I had never heard of Seth Godin before.) But it was exactly what I needed. So here I am, in this post. Writing poorly in public (everyday).
In Seth’s post he talks about writers block.
Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). Tell us how to do something.
Writers block has never been my problem. I have plenty of ideas to write about. That (his quote) has been my problem. Doing it everyday. I know, make it a priority. But I have a very full life now: a 1 year old, a significant other and his children, a house, a new job, and a long commute. But Karl’s post is what I have been wrestling with the day since I wrote the New Beginnings post. Who am I as a teacher of reading and writing if I don’t read and write?
It also matters for my students. Karl said:
I think we’re often overly concerned about the quality of our students’ writing, and whether it’s “good enough” to share. Now, to be clear, I think our students should be concerned with the quality of their writing, and should strive to get better at communicating their thoughts. But if we let the worry about what others will think get in the way of having our students write more, and for a larger audience, then we’re doing them a disservice out of fear.
That is something I struggle with; just having them publish their work in our room, let alone for the world. But I think there is great value in publishing to the world. What better validation and inspiration than to have someone who doesn’t know you relate to what you are writing and sharing. Not your teacher, not your mom, not your classmate. I have had my students maintain a blog before, but have kind of shied away from it for exactly that reason. Their writing is not perfect. Plus working with students whose second language is English just puts the spotlight more on what is wrong. But they have such great ideas and so much to say. So yes, they need to publish to the world.
So tomorrow’s post will be about my life as a reader because I am committing to writing poorly(and then not so much). In public. Everyday.
Many good things can come out of conflict. I am currently in conflict. I have conflict with what I am currently doing professionally and where I see what I want to be doing. There is such a divide between the two, I’m not sure how to cross it.
My current position is teaching an ELD classroom that is full of more restrictions than it is creativity and varied opportunities for learning. There is sooo much pressure for students to perform on AIMS there isn’t room for anything besides teaching to the test. I hate it. I understand where it is coming from and why, but surely there has to be a middle ground somewhere.
Where I see myself professionally (today, that is) is teaching writing to middle schoolers. I am inspired by storytelling and the creativity and voice that we all have, if we just learn how to share it. Which really is a place I never thought I would want to be at. I have been greatly inspired by fellow ELD teacher, Ms. Gonzalez, who is a GREAT writing teacher. She gets it. She is so knowledgeable about children’s literature. What’s more important is that she honors students’ voices. I think that technology provides an avenue for students to share their voices in a way that is natural to them. If only we let them, monitor and advise them.
So with that, I must get to where the rubber meets the road. What am I going to do about it? It took me three years to get this site up and running, and I have let it just sit here. I want to teach writing, but really have not honored it for myself. I don’t write everyday more than a Facebook update, and even that has been sporadic lately. I haven’t read an adult book in over a year. REALLY!! Yikes! I am embarrassed to share that. But it is what it is. And it is where I am at. But it is not where I want to be.
Post update(11/10): I don’t hate teaching. I actually enjoy my class this year. (I haven’t said that in two years.) They are a great group. I do hate the testing pressure. Just felt I should clarify.
Today, the ELD Instructional Coaches attended in-services presented by our own. The writing presentation today was AWESOME!!!! I was greatly impressed and learned more in two hours than any writing training I’ve had in 7 years total. I have always struggled with teaching writing. I have come to realize that maybe my lack of drive in teaching writing is connected to my lack of writing here. I never really thought about how as a teacher of writing I need to have some connection to writing myself. I have not made writing a priority. If I really want to improve my teaching of writing I need to give some priority to my own writing, not just here, but also my own personal writing. All writing is not worthy of publishing, but surely I have more to say than what I have so far…