Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Slice of Life-Change of Plans on the First Day

Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 

I wasn't sure how yesterday would unfold. Had I known, I might have driven with my daughter to Michigan--a ten hour trip. I might have opted to clean our attic (which is 110 degrees). I might even have gone for my mammogram that I've been putting off--I know, I know, I'm going next week! I didn't though. I showed up for the first day back to school for teachers.  

Convocation was at 8:30, and after that, my plan was to travel around the district and meet some of the new teachers and long-term substitutes. So often I find questions people didn't even know they had when I stop in to introduce myself. However, my first task was to find the All About Me posters for one of our kindergarten teachers. Until I finally gave up and asked my secretary where they were, I wouldn't have found them since they were in the science cabinets. (I coordinate writing and social studies for the district.) And I also wouldn't have discovered the moths who had discovered the open birdseed.

Fortunately, my supervisor and I share a history with lice and an aversion for any kind of creepy thing that could require an exterminator, so she helped for a while and had no problem with my day's priority involving a vacuum and cleaning spray. 

I'm not sure how the custodian and the exterminator who came today will make sure that the vacuum filters are moth, worm, and egg-free, but so far, the science closet seems to be mothless. The funniest thing we found which we no longer need in the curriculum is this Integrated Pest Management kit. I may have to use this as a gag present one day. There was a certain irony about finding it as we were tracking down meal moths.

My first day of work this year serves as an important reminder that sometimes our most important work isn't what we planned, and that sometimes the most important decisions we make in classrooms are responsive and based on the needs we see right in front of us. Hopefully, they don't inspire second showers of our days, though.

Happy Writing,

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Slice of Life: The Power of a Writing Community

Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 

This morning, I got a text from Lisa Keeler telling me that her SOL post was about me. She and I met through the world of blogging and specifically, could trace the genesis of our real-life-meeting path to  the community within the SOL. Her post this morning welled me right up.  We don't often get to know the impression we make on other people--I frequently wonder how crazy my life appears to visitors and observers--and we almost never get to read about it. Lisa's post this morning was a gift I will treasure.

I could go on about how much I also have enjoyed getting to know Lisa. I could write about the dinner we made together in her Virginia kitchen that we ate in Adirondack chairs overlooking meadows, pastures, and beautiful horses. I could also write about the amazing adventures she had as a child traveling around the world, or I could write about the angel food cake she made today for her mother's birthday because it's her mother's favorite. I could write more, too.

But here's the thing. It's really hard for people to understand that relationships really do come out of blogging and twitter and the SOL community until they experience it. When I told my daughters about my new friend Lisa who I only knew through shared posts, on-line stalking, and a phone conversation, they thought I was crazy. Okay, so she has daughters who remind me of my own, a mother with the same birthday, a lab who was older than mine (and took as many pills as mine does until hers died a few months ago), plays tennis, has a similar job, and...I could go on. When we met in person and my daughters met her in person, they understood. "You really are a lot alike," one of my girls said. "That's weird."

But is it?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that all of us in the SOL community commit to noticing moments and appreciating them enough to write about them. Generally, the moments we share are not shared with the intention to complain or criticize, but rather to celebrate and relive a wonder (my OLW for 2016).

Writing is a powerful connector. If you are new to the SOL community and struggling with the commitment to write and share every week, it's worth it. If you are reading this post and debating about joining in, please do. We will welcome you. Such good things come of it--an appreciation for the power of writing, learning, friendships, posts like the one Lisa wrote this morning...

Thank you to all of my slicing community, thank you Stacey for bringing so many people together, and thank you Lisa.