SOLSC: March 2, 2016 – A teaching hero comes to visit…


Write. Share. Give. Join the March Slice of Life Story Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers  

Yesterday, a teaching hero came to visit my classroom…Vicki Vinton:


who brought with her a team of sixth grade teachers from the Cranford, New Jersey school district who were interested in seeing a reading and writing workshop in action:


What does it feel like to have a teaching hero right there in your classroom, in the midst of a regular “it’s sixth grade and anything can happen” school day?  It’s nerve wracking…at first.  Then the bell rings, my kids walk in, and it’s just another day in Room 202.

I’m still processing this visit, and reflecting upon the questions these educators asked about my practice.  I’m  still playing out scenes from our morning together, and trying to “see” what our  visitors saw.

Here’s what sticks with me, though, above and beyond anything else-the way my students responded to having visitors in our room: with confidence, and pride.  I was moved when they came in a bit early to check and make sure “everything looked just right”, I was touched by the way they shared their work and their thoughts when asked, and I was impressed with the way they carried out their work and routines – our day was still about learning, no matter who else was in the room.

It is March, after all, and many of us are school weary – the children, especially.  From time to time, I take for granted the progress my kids have made from their first days in Room 202 when there were many routines to learn, and (seemingly) impossible standards to live up to.  But, watching them move smoothly from task to task on Wednesday, and seeing how our visitors were taking note of this, I came to have a deeper appreciation for my kids.  This ease and confidence was born of hard work, mistakes made and learned from.  They had to learn new ways, unlearn old ways, and make habits that stick.  We had some difficult times, and some days looked pretty hopeless.  Still,we persevered, and somewhere along the journey from September through June, we made the turn.  We must have felt this and acknowledged this in some quiet way…but I don’t remember the where and when.


Isn’t that the story of every school year? The intentional becomes the instinctive: we have become the class we set out to be.








28 thoughts on “SOLSC: March 2, 2016 – A teaching hero comes to visit…

  1. How awesome that your students were able to carry on with visitor’s in the classroom. It bother’s my high school students when there are visitors in the classroom.

  2. It is amazing how students step up to the plate when needed. It is also a tribute to the one who has worked with them and helped mold them into who they are. Congrats to you all.

  3. What an awesome experience for those sixth grade teachers! This truly speaks to the community of learners that you have nurtured from day one in Room 202. It’s not always a well-oiled machine, but when it is it is magical, and that’s what I’m sure those teachers saw.

  4. Oh wow- this must have been an amazing experience. No wonder you are still processing it. The fact that your students were confident and full of pride speaks to the wonderful culture and community you’ve helped them to create.

  5. It is really a tribute to you that your children value their classroom time and show it when it counts. I always felt like a proud mother when authors would visit and my 1st graders would be so invested in the experience.

  6. I love how you have acknowledged very humbly the hard work you have done to establish a working and inspiring environment for learning and being. Your students are confident because you have led them there. Congratulations! Could you bottle up some of your magic and send it my way?

  7. “The intentional becomes the instinctive…” I love that phrase! It’s so telling of the classroom environment you have created that students were proud to demonstrate their work and their daily routine for guests. What a wonderful slice!

  8. I believe you shared your thoughts about your awesome learning community with your students too. Kudos to you and your students.

  9. It’s a long hard journey with you leading the way. Setting expectations and standards. Taking risks with your students. Expecting to struggle and even fail, but learning too. Bravo to you for opening your doors. Bravo to your students for standing with confidence to share the real beauty of a reading and writing workshop — where teachers and students flourish as readers and writers!

  10. Community – it is so clear that you established a community of learners who share and support themselves, you and any one new who enters the room. I would love to watch your classroom work! Enjoy these great moments!

  11. I love February and March because it feels like all the September/October work is finally paying off AND there is still a good chunk of the school year left. Sounds like your visitors had a great time!

  12. How inspiring that your students were able to show your visitors a day in the life of a reader and writing in rm. 202. I really appreciated your honest portrait of a classroom community.

  13. Your students’ model, caring behavior reflects how they feel about you! And that’s something I’m sure those teachers noticed. It’s so nice to have a chance to see the living embodiment of all that hard work you and they have been doing all year. I hope you’ll “treat” them somehow!

  14. Tara,
    To have been in just a sliver of a corner to see you, in all your graciousness and your students, confident in their learning! I can see it! Bit I would also love to bask in it all as well!

    O Joyfull day!

  15. I imagine that those teachers came away so inspired, Tara, even your hero, Vicki Vinton! And how wonderful to hear that your students came in early to ensure everything was “just right”. I assume you didn’t ask, but they stepped up to help the group. Being in a community and being proud of its values is something so good. I see that you’re proud of them, and hope you’re proud of yourself too.

  16. Kids never cease to amaze me when they love and respect their teacher. Because they know you will go above and beyond for them, they did their best for you. What an awesome community you have helped them create.

  17. Great reminder to look back and appreciate how far they have come. Not perfect, but progress. And it makes sense that having outsiders there forces us to look through their eyes, taking a break from our habits of seeing. Written so well.

  18. What a joy to see your students from this perspective. Not to mention the joy it is to share your love with passionate educators and a hero! Makes me wonder how your sudents felt about the visit.

Thank you for reading my blog! Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s