Filling Needs.

I have this job that I’m incredibly thankful for. It gives me a chance to focus — really focus — on the teaching of writing. Naturally I’m interested in all areas of literacy, as well as other content areas (for those of you who don’t know I’m a licensed biology and chemistry teacher), but my focus is writing and how writing matters in these other realms.

I’ve developed this new passion in the past couple of years — primary writers. This year I have the opportunity to focus on our youngest writers, putting new ideas and latest research into practice. I’m also getting to see how we can transition writers from second grade writers to third grade writers.  The learning curve is steep. The work is remarkable.

I’ve been heavily involved in leading professional development. I like this part of my job too. It’s often a challenging aspect, putting together meaningful presentations and workshops, but it is rewarding in the end.

Then I’ve been attending pd too. Martha Horn, Carl Anderson, and Lucy Calkins all in the less than a month. My brain is filled with thinking and reflecting and processing.

It all comes down to getting the opportunity to fill needs. One of the quotes we used in Day by Day and I like to use in presentations is:

“Find a need and fill it.”

— Henry J. Kaiser

At the end of the day I want to believe if  I found needs and filled them, then the day was a success. Then I start thinking about all of the needs I found, but didn’t fill and I feel, well, I feel inadequate. If I think a little more, then I realize there were needs I didn’t even notice. The ones I was too busy to take in, and I feel disappointed.

What I’m learning and what I’m trying to accept is my little is enough. Right now there are high demands on teachers and quite often, at the end of the day, we can leave school wondering if what we are doing is enough. We can wonder if this is really how we should spend our time day in and day out. Despite all of the chaos I believe it is. Our little makes a difference. When I place my little next to yours and next to his and next to hers, it makes a difference. We make a difference together. As a team. Working toward a goal of changing lives through teaching writers. Just fill one need and know you make a difference.

This quote (a longer version here) is leading me. May it inspire you too.

As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love