On Monday I worked in a first grade classroom and the teacher commented, I feel like when you come all you do is troubleshoot. I’ve been thinking about her comment because really her workshop is running quite nicely — especially considering that she is teaching language arts for the first time in her entire life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about her comment and I’ve been reminded what it’s like to implement a writing workshop for the first time. The entire year you feel as though all you’re doing is troubleshooting. You have a vision of how workshop should be going . . . but, then . . . well . . . little things begin cropping up and you wonder if the whole concept is just one big fat myth.
If you’re feeling as though you’re putting out one fire after another in your workshop, rest assured things are going well. First, you’re noticing what needs to be changed. And second, you’re doing something about it. Keep at it — it takes a few years to get every aspect of workshop working like a well-oiled machine. And it’s worth every bit of hard work it takes to get there.
Keep a reflection journal and note the ways you’re troubleshooting, but more importantly note the little successes along the way. After all, these are the things that add up to big learning!