Looking at my one word for the year–sacred–I am trying to find how that will work for me tomorrow. You see tomorrow marks a new venture and a return to a sacred spot as I begin doing some work with KMWP, my local chapter of the National Writing Project. I’m trying to figure out how I am going to work with teachers at the school level and where this is going to take my presentation. I’ve decided to change directions from focusing on content writing in working with social studies teachers to reclaiming the sacred in writing.
As I surround myself with other teachers who truly value the sacredness of certain practices in the teaching of writing, I will force myself to look long and hard and what I am doing right now and how I need to change. This is both scary and exhilarating to me, scary because I know I have taken the prepackaged units given to me and not done what I could and what I should to make them better and exhilarating because I am going to finally begin to put into action what has been tearing at my writing teacher soul this school year. Questions I have to answer as I seek to find the wiggle room in the units provided to me.
- How can I add writing that isn’t text-based or is loosely text-based that will help each student find his/her own unique voice?
- How can I loosen the shackles of the curriculum and seek the sacred in writing? I mean I have a provided unit, but I have some freedom.
- In this age of collaboration and data and same page teaching, CC and district mandates, how can I find a way, in spite of it all, to do what is best for my student writers?
- How can I do all I have to do but still create a space where writers will flourish?
- How can I find the time and space for the sacredness of the writing groups?
- Jim Gray, founder of NWP, writes of how writing project teachers find their niche in the teaching of writing. I want to find my niche, explore my niche, and yes, even (ugh!) scratch my niche.
- How can I help my students find a true audience when the summative tasks provided are essays written for me?
- How can I help students still find that memoir that exists inside all of us and use writing not just for analysis, but also to make meaning out of life?