Letter of Reflection/Encouragment

Day 31 of 31 of Year 5 Slicing & First Year I’ve Posted Daily before Midnight

The other morning I was listening to the Jeff and Jenn Show ( & ) on Star 94.1 and I got an idea for a my last blogpost of the month. You see the DJs both wrote letters to themselves (Jenn’s letter, Jeff’s letter). These were letters they wrote to themselves, letters of reflection and encouragement inspired from a producer who had done the same thing when first moving to Atlanta.

After a month of daily blogging, I feel like an inspirational letter of challenge would be a good way for me to think about how I can heed my words moving forward.

Dear Maya,

Congratulations! For the first time in 5 years of slicing with Two Writing Teachers, you have  met the midnight deadline in your daily blogs. Wow! Way to go! When you focus on  a goal and set your sights on it, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to achieving. That is something that you are finally seeing at the age of 47. 

Even though the blogging takes a lot of time, you become much more cognizant of the little things in life as you write daily. You have an outlet for your swirling thoughts, and you are able to process things and gain a more realistic perspective. With the encouragement from reader friends who discuss your posts with as well as teachers who you’ve never met who leave comments, you are able to make sense of the challenges you face.

Just this month you have written and reflected and come to a greater understanding of the nuances of your principal as you wrote of his “Button Pushing Hyperbolic Subtlety” as well as with “The Best.”  

You dealt with writer’s block with parodies, haiku, and bad poetry. Haikuing your way out of writer’s block and filling your blog space, baby, that made for fun moments.

You squared off with your #oneword2016, deliberate, asked some tough questions, and tried some new things. Of course, remember what your “nuts and bolts” principal tells you, “Maya, you’ve got to try something for longer than a few days to know if it works.” Maya, reflect on what you’ve written and tried this month but not for too long. Remember you’ve decided that you need to have a “Bias Towards Action.” Remember that you getting things done will give you more of what you need and more of what your family needs.

Spend your break rereading some of your posts, so you can take reflection into action. Maya, you’ve come a long way. Your words on your blog help you process, but you know, girl, that without action reflection is nothing. Reflection needs to turn into something. You need to set goals–stretch and smart goals, so you can begin to accomplish what you set out to do.  Your kids are growing up. Spend some time with Duhigg–read the rest of Smarter Better Faster: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business. You’ll find it refreshing to read a book from outside of the realm of education, and it might be just what you need, a new perspective to fix old problems–deliberateness, prioritization, balance. Remember, though, if you can post and comment for 31 days straight, you can build routines and habits in other areas of life as well. Don’t let the process culminate as words on a screen–make this process something that can be seen. 

Today as you walked with Sarah through the parking lot, you were holding hands as you walked.  A part of you wanted to freeze that moment in time as you began to fear the time that would come when she would no longer hold your hand in parking lots. 

Yes, you have a stack of papers. Yes, you want to engage your students. Yes, you get pulled up and down the hall to help people with technology. At the end of the day, though, you know who the most important people are in your life. Live that love for family. Prioritize. Be deliberate. Figure out how to be Smarter Better Faster

Your boss is right about that. You need to take down time. You need to calendar your down time. In fact, you need to figure out  over break because you know he’s going to ask you when you plan to shut down. Don’t even say you can’t shut down for a few weeks. You can. You will. You must. For your family. For your students. For your coworkers. For yourself. Your health and well-being depend on it. Remember that blog post about letting go

Remember, Maya,  what Jon Gordon wrote. Remember that post you wrote about it–when you feel like you haven’t done something to the best of your ability, when you feel less than successful. When you see a 2 on an evaluation based on a 10 minute window–the way you see each moment is a matter of your perspective. You are not failing; you are becoming. Continue the process of becoming each and every day.









Writing Chores


Some days writing is a chore.

Common Core Writing Chores:  The paired text essay based on a prompt–nobody’s idea of fun. This is a chore. This is not real-world writing. Informational essays that answer questions about texts do little to engage students. Sometimes the question asked is just not one that anyone cares to answer. Sure I can try to engage students in thinking, comparing, engaging, crafting, creating and revising. Sometimes, though, the prompt is just not engaging, and kids feel confined.

Spelling Word Writing Chores: My daughter’s homework tonight is to write a story using at least 5 spelling words. This is a chore. This is not real-world writing. After pushing her for quite awhile, she finally crafted an entertaining bit of prose, yet once again, she’s confined by the prompt/words to use in her story.

Blog Writing Chore: I’ve been pushing people to write and work all day, and now I’ve got nothing left. I’ll attempt to wax poetic (or perhaps just vent) about my frustration of going from trying to get my students to write to trying to get my daughter to write. And now, it’s my turn to write–greeeaaaat! Today there has been no passion or authenticity in writing for me, and I’m tired.


Forced to write,
My pen, a hostage tied to a chair,
Bound and constrained,
Mouth gagged with a handkerchief
I’ve lost my words,
my voice a mumble,
unheard and slumped down.

My energy depleted
Out of fuel–
in need of sustenance.

Let me go–
Unbound me.
I need to be released,
free from constraint.

My words need

a place
a space

in order for my voice
to be found,
and for me
to know who I am.



I Filled this Blog Space Baby

Apologies to Taylor Swift–Blank Space Parody

Will defeat you
Writing when?
My blog is quite full of teacher things
Teaching, madness, differentiation
No thoughts to share and I thought oh my god
Look it’s late, I can’t fill my blogging place.
Writing’s lame, thoughts at bay
No thoughts, words will die
I can’t write you words unseen
Ain’t it funny here I sigh
And I know you linked onto me
So hey, teacher friends
I’m hoping to see tonight’s blog end.
Grab my coffee–magic wand
I can’t fake the words ’til the weekend.

Writer’s block forever
Or it’s gonna end up sounding lame
You can comment when it’s over
If the read was worth the pain
Got a short list of started posts
That’ll show you I’m mundane
Cause you know I ain’t a player
And my writing’s lame

Cause I’m old and I’m tarnished
I can’t take ideas very far.
I’ll  leave you varnished
Won’t get a writing star
Can’t be an ex-blogger
Cause I’m losing fame.
But I filled this blog space baby
And I’m in this game.

Look out, Weird Al….



Slice Daily for the Entire Month of March
March Slice of Life Challenge


Devoid of thoughts.

No pedagogical pondering.

Maya’s not meandeirng.

No topic.

No ideas.

Blank slate.

Nothing to beat myself up about.

Not into writing about the cough,

I’ve had enough of that.

Not wanting to copy a poem.

No  6 word memoir.

Not wanting to write.

Slicing to meet the goal.

Writing daily.

Not feeling it.

Just doing it.

Writing through the block.



Devoid of thoughts.



Six Words +

Slice Daily for the Entire Month of March
March Slice of Life Challenge

Six word memoir and nothing more.

Innovation, a driving force that propels.

Passion is exhilarating, enlivening, and exhausting, .

Fill writer’s block with one liners.

Hamster running on wheel–stop now.

I fill my page and another.

Plate is full–pile up more.

Life is good but too busy.

Papers to grade–a fire made?

The biggest challenge yields greatest reward.

No break weekend: KMWP, soccer, schoolwork.

Slowing down,winding down,falling asleep.

Waking up, daughter in my face.

The weekend is here–time slows.

Time slows, never stops, constant motion.

Fine line between passion and obsession.

Noise never stops–long for silence.

Springing forward–lose an hour of sleep.

Springing forward, need to catch up.

Springing forward beckoning spring to come.