Looking back over the past couple of years, I am amazed by everything I have learned. So much so, that it is hard to articulate. I don’t know where to begin to express all the new thoughts, knowledge, and feelings swirling around inside my head. I will start with the change in my own attitude toward writing. I will admit that I avoided writing like the plague because it scared the living daylights out of me. I cowered away from writing, burying my head in the sand, so to speak. I thought if I ignored it, it would go away. Now, newly armed with confidence borne from extensive reading, research, peer discussions, resources, strategies, and an excellent mentor I feel up to the adventure of writing with my students. In the past, I didn’t believe in my students’ ability to write. After my experiences with my students this past year, I know they ARE writers.
Looking forward, I want to share my new knowledge with my peers by serving as a mentor, helping with ideas and resources and receiving ideas and resources from them as well. I want to establish a true professional learning community within my school and my district. I want to build upon what I have begun with my students this year. I plan to incorporate writing into as many activities as possible next year. Since we are “making time for writing” district-wide next year, I am not sure what procedures or other mandates will be put into place by the administration, but I hope to have the choice to use researched best practices in my classroom. This will involve reading lots of books and other mentor texts to study author’s craft. While we are learning content, we will also be reading like writers to see just how an author gets his or her message across. I also want to use a writer’s notebook next year. I was blessed with two excellent writing books this semester, and purchased two more on my own. I plan to spend a big chunk of my summer familiarizing myself with strategies and advice from Calkins, Ray, Ehrenworth, and Serravano.
The biggest blessing this old, battle-worn veteran has received from these past two years is a renewed passion for teaching. I have never lost my love for the students, but have often felt overwhelmed by the pressures put upon me by administrators and state mandates. I feel invigorated, on fire with a new resolve to be the teacher my students need and deserve.
I would like to express my most sincere and humble appreciation to all of the professors and administrators who made this program possible.