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