#DigiLit Sunday: Conversations about the new school year

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:


Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.25.18 PM

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!


9 thoughts on “#DigiLit Sunday: Conversations about the new school year

  1. I love the quote that made you create this post celebrating our learning communities. Thanks for posting and joining in this conversation even though your start date is a way away. In our restfulness of summer, we still think about those children who we value so much and who need so much. That’s why teaching is a vocation and not just a job.

  2. I love that quote, too, Tara! You’ve been having such a beautiful, enriching summer of learning and experiences. I love seeing the pictures of your farm and it seems like a very restorative, inspiring summer. I totally agree with your last statement- teaching is a vocation and not a “job.” Always good to read your words!

  3. I love that we find our support outside our school, district and states. Often there is a nudge from a PLN that keeps me going or better yet inspires me to do better.

  4. That quote is perfect. We build each other up with knowledge, wisdom, and enthusiasm for the very stimulating yet daunting work we do. I am so grateful to have your words to lift me. You take that same gift into the classroom, every year. Here’s to the new year that we (thankfully) journey together!

  5. What a beautiful quote! And so true. We are blessed to be in a profession that embraces this. Enjoy the remaining days of summer while I enjoy the beginning days of my new school year.

  6. There is an ease in your writing Tara as it has been supported by a summer full of learning and living. May your new year start with being the fullness of the teacher you are, who provides your kiddos with the passion they deserve.

  7. I vote YES for reading, writing, and conversations . . . so much a part of the growth and reflection process. And then the icing on top – quoting Lester! I was just talking about him yesterday!!! ❤

    Thanks for sharing your path to planning! ❤

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