For #celebratelu and #DigiLitSunday: My OLW for 2017


#DigiLitSunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche.  

Celebrate with Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes  …. because we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get.

It’s that time of year again for many of us teacher-bloggers: the time to choose our very own “one little word” – the word we will reach for and seek comfort in, the word we hope distills the best of our wishes and aims in the year ahead.  Just. A. Little. Pressure.  And why?  Because, as Ruth said in the video she sharedour OLW is the word we choose to live with (whether we know it when we choose it or not).  Sometimes the journey to one’s OLW is easy – it just appears and is immediately perfect, and sometimes it’s an agonizing journey – so many shiny and “just right” words to choose from!


This year, I rummaged around in my imaginary word file (the one in which I save likely OLWs) all winter break long, and came up short each time.  At the Concert for Peace last night, standing in front of the Peace Tree and thinking ahead to what is likely to be a year of unrest and fear, it occurred to me that this year’s word was one I was feeling the least, deep down in my heart:


In the larger world, I need to believe that my role as a citizen counts, that my participation matters.  The next four years will bring many challenges to the very fabric of our society, for much of the progress we’ve made as a country stands to be swept aside by  a reactionary and malevolent new administration.  I need to consider that my participation and activism can make a difference…I need to believe.

In my classroom, I need to believe that I can make a difference in the lives of the children I am responsible for.  Sometimes, this is hard to do…and sometimes, this just feels impossible to do.  Teaching never flows in one straight, easy to navigate line: there are stops and starts, false starts, unexpected detours, roadblocks and speed bumps.  And sometimes, even though there is a reliable GPS on hand (for me, that would be my 16 years of teaching experience), one gets lost.  I need to hold fast to the notion that the work we do in our classroom, the investment of time and effort in building a rich learning environment, is our Northstar – we may seem swerve and stop and slow down, but the journey itself is grounded and true.

And, as a writer, I simply need to believe that I have have something of value to say.  All too often, especially in the past few months, I’ve turned away from writing anything because I have felt that nothing I wrote felt fresh and new; I’ve felt as though I’ve been circling around the same ideas in the same way, and what’s the point in that?  I realize, of course, that this is just a convenient excuse not to go through the worthwhile struggle that is the writing life.  I need to believe that I can still find a way to write about what I’ve learned, thought about, and imagined.

So…my one little word for 2017 has arrived at last: believe.



16 thoughts on “For #celebratelu and #DigiLitSunday: My OLW for 2017

  1. Hold on to that word! I hope that all we believe in is not lost in the next four years. Keep writing because your thoughts do matter and they always give me something to ponder. Happy New Year to you!

  2. I think Believe was one of my words. I should really look up the words I’ve chosen each year. Funny how we can commit to something for an entire year and then let it leave the memory. CS Lewis was brilliant. You really are what you believe you are. I’m looking forward to learning more about what you believe as the year goes forward.

  3. Keep believing and moving . . . forward, and sometimes a look in the rear view mirror is helpful too. If anyone can achieve the things you mentioned, it is YOU! Your students are so lucky to have you believing in them and in the importance of the things learned in your classroom.

  4. An excellent word for what, as you say, promises to be a challenging year. I believe you have so much to give to your students and the wider world. Your passion and commitment always comes through loud and clear through your writing, and you always inspire me. Happy New Year, Tara!

  5. Your posts always speak to my heart. There is always line that I wish I had written or have thought about in my head at least 100 times. This post spoke to my writing. I’m still struggling but you are helping me in my journey. Thanks friend and Happy New Year.

    Love the new pictures and display at the top of your blog.

  6. Believe is a wonderful word, full of potential and courage. I look forward to seeing where it will take you. I believe in you. Love the C. S. Lewis quote. I also love the word images. I am still dipping into my list to find which one sticks.

  7. Believe is an important word. It is what carries you through those hard times when you question everything you stand for and everything you do. You talk about writing in circles. Maybe they are not circles on the same level. Maybe they are spiraling you to new understandings with increments too small to see as you go, but when you look back, you will see how far you have come. Don’t be disheartened. Believe. Your children, we, need you.

  8. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for nudging us how to follow our North Star. Yes, we must believe and we must believe in peace that begins within each of us. You are so right, if we just believe…

  9. BELIEVE. I think you’ve selected a strong word for the new year. It’s funny when I read the reasons you don’t write, as I know them too. However, I find when stopping by your blog, I always leave with new things to ponder. You have such a way with words. Looking forward to following your journey.

    This line speaks so many truths: “Teaching never flows in one straight, easy to navigate line: there are stops and starts, false starts, unexpected detours, roadblocks and speed bumps.”

  10. Tara, so much of your post resonates with me. I have found myself in the same boat as you when it comes to writing. I found myself saying, “YES!” as I read your words. This is the year that we all need to believe that we can make a difference. I know that your words make a difference in my life. Happy New Year!

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