Digilit Sunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche. Today, Margaret asks us to reflect on new beginning and the new school year.
The new school year is exactly a month away for me, but I have been thinking about it since June…since the last days of the old school year. Today, as we gather together at DigiLit Sunday to share our thoughts and ideas about the new school year, I want to reflect upon summer conversations and learning with colleagues, and how critical these are to beginning a new school year.
Summer writing: Slice of Life Tuesday, Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayers, Poetry Friday, and my writer’s group gave me the incentive to show up on designated days and write for a supportive audience. Comments and suggestions gave me fodder to think about and inspiration to write from. All summer long, I was able to practice what I teach among the kind of writing community I hope to recreate in the Fall; I am a better writer because my professional learning community was there to nudge me along and celebrate the fact that I showed up to write.
Summer reading: Teach Mentor Text Mondays and #cyberPD created spaces for me to share my reading and my thinking about my reading. Facebook pages devoted to professional reading allowed me insight into what other teachers were gleaning from these wise books, and how these teachers would put these wonderful new ideas to work in their classrooms. I was introduced to amazing new books to share with my students in the new school year, and practiced the kind of thoughtful discussion about my reading life that I hope to continue with my sixth graders come September. My reading life was rich; again, I was able to practice what I teach thanks to a generous teaching/learning community.
Summer conversation: Voxer, Google+ communities, and Googledocs allowed for a near continuous dialogue about the philosophies and practices of my teaching life. I loved the stimulating ideas that were so generously shared, the thoughtful discussions that flowed, and the provocative questions posed. Teachers are learners, too, and my teaching-learning life remained active and purposeful all summer long, thanks to colleagues as far flung as California, Louisiana, and Maine.
As I finish preparing my curricular maps and lesson ideas, I begin to feel that “new school year” excitement and anticipation. I begin to imagine the faces I will see on our first day of school, the new young people I will come to know and love over the course of another school year. That excitement and anticipation is also tinged with worry and fear: will I be up to the daunting task of teaching these new students in ways that last and matter, about things that last and matter? Will I be the teacher I want to be, the teacher these kids deserve?
Yesterday, Lester Laminack shared this quote on Facebook:
This morning, ruminating over what to write about this DigiLit Sunday, it occurred to me that my summer learning community of dreamers, doers, believers and thinkers has allowed me to keep alive and see a vision of great teaching in the year ahead. The new school year, though a month away, is already off to a great start thanks to them. I can’t wait for September!