Thursday, March 31, 2016

On reconnecting with a pleasure I had let fall to the wayside

When my amazing colleague and friend, Kim, invited me and several of our colleagues to join her on the Slice of Life challenge, I told her YES, hoping that, by the time March rolled around, I'd miraculously be energized and excited to blog every single day for the next 31 days. When the miracle I was hoping for did not happen, I told myself I'd try it for three days, and if I hated it, I could stop.

And so I tried.

On day one, I told myself it didn't matter what I write, just write. Don't worry about who is going to see this first draft writing.

On day two, I discovered I had no desire to write about my work. After a full day of teaching, and with grading and planning always looming nearby as I stole some time to write, I needed this space to be a retreat, a place where I could fill my well. And I confess: I prefer reading and commenting on slices about anything over work. 

By day three, I knew I could stop and not feel that I had let myself down--after all, I had reached my initial target of 3 days. But I didn't want to.

In the last month, I've reconnected to a pleasure I let fall to the wayside when I became weighed down by the daily grind of teaching. The irony of this is not lost on me. An English teacher who teaches writing but doesn't write on a regular basis? Bad, bad, bad. And yet, that is a vast majority of teachers. Imagine if school leaders actively created working conditions that support the professional growth of teachers? For all the talk of "rigor" and "literacy across the curriculum" at my school, I have yet to see a visionary move to support the lives of teachers as readers, writers, and scholars. And it is so fixable.

Putting your money where your mouth is matters. I am so proud of all of us for taking the plunge into this challenge. I have had the pleasure of writing alongside masters whose words and spirit inspired and sustained me throughout the month. I have deepened friendships with colleagues I already admired, respected, and adored but now feel even closer to. And I am so grateful to Kim for rallying us to write. 


  1. You dit it! You dit it! You did it in a 31 days! That is the beauty of this whole experience. I wil miss reading your daily blogs. I looked forward to them every single evening. You had a great melange of funny and poignantly serious pieces. Thank you for trusting me with your words and stories. Keep writing!

  2. Congratulations! I love your comment about a need for administration to support teachers as readers and writers-so true! I hope you will check in on Tuesdays!!

  3. I'm with you on not really wanting to write much about teaching after teaching all day.
    Although I want to co-author a memoir stepping back from what EL students have taught me about writing.

  4. I have SO enjoyed reading your slices throughout the month. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us.

  5. I think most of us feel this way, and are surprised at how well we did. But I am exhausted and tomorrow is a day of rest...You are not alone when you state that you did not want to write about work, or read about anything related to it. After responding to the posted below and above, as expected, I always sought out those pieces that had nothing to do with teaching, learning, writing. For the reasons you stated. This was for me. I am a bit of a pessimist in tat I don't think any high level administrator will see that PD presented, for the most part, is not PD that will effect change in my practices in the classroom. But blogging every day, this will definitely make a change. It has been really wonderful reading your pieces, Michelle, and I look forward to more to come. Maribeth

  6. A very good insight into a meaningful way for teachers to experience professional development.

    Glad you joined us in writing this March.

  7. I am so proud of you, Michelle! SO PROUD. You inspire me and it was an amazing experience. Let's keep it up. I'll do it if you do (and the rest of our writing crew!). Glad that writing was a release for you, too. Your entries were a wonderful look into all the parts that make you, you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  8. I so enjoyed reading your slices! You are a very talented writer. And what you said about not working it is so, so true! Hope to see you on Tuesdays!

  9. It's been so fun to read your writing and comment this month. I especially loved reading all of your family stories (OK, sorry Hagrid, Boo and Star and I loved reading about you too!) I agree with your comment on my blog, that you feel like we know each other, even though we have never met in person. I have sliced for five or six years and have made many life long friends! Please keep slicing on Tuesdays!


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