writing workshop


One. Little. Word.

I have been in search of my one little word for some time now, without much success.  The more I thought about it, the more anxious and uncertain I became…especially because I had already committed to writing a post about it along with the Two Writing Teachers team.  What was I to do?

Other bloggers have written so eloquently about their one little word journeys, and I’ve loved reading their varied paths to their just right word; I took comfort in the fact that, eventually, everyone seemed to settle upon that one little word to answer the questions Dana posed in her OLW story:

Which word will you live this year?  Which word will you invite into your life?

But that was Monday, and I was nowhere near finding my own answers…or better still, my one little word.

I read Terje’s post, and began to wonder if I, too, was destined not to have just one particular guiding word for the year after all.  Then, I read Linda’s post, and loved the way in which her word had arrived when she least expected it to.  So, I put off writing my sad-sounding post about the lack of an OLW, and went about reading our Tuesday Slice of Life posts.

Tammy’s post about “rushing language” struck a deep chord, and I thought about it all day.  Two comments made in passing that very morning seemed to drive home the points she had been making in a very personal way. First, a colleague stopped by wanting to chat, but seeing me scurrying around the classroom trying to get it ready for the day, he’d said, “I’ll come back later, when you aren’t so rushed.”  Then, an ex-student stopped by to discuss college recommendations.  But, I was in the middle of  transitioning between my morning and afternoon blocks, and I was cleaning up the papers and books that were scattered all over the room.  I must have appeared quite harried, because I heard those words again: “I’ll come back later, when things aren’t so crazed.”

I paused, and then I just had to get back to my desk to re-read Tammy’s post.  Vicki Vinton, educator and writer extraordinaire, had left one of her thought-provoking comments, in which she posed this thought:

“… maybe we get to urgently needed places more surely and deeply, if we slow down and give ourselves time to breathe & process.”

In other words, if we give ourselves time and permission to pause.

I never seem to have the time to pause.

When I walk into my classroom at the start of the day, I often feel that there are ten things I need to get to right away.

When I arrive back home at the end of the work day, I often feel the same way.

When I finish one pile of grading, one load of laundry, or even one book…I often start thinking about the next thing right away.

I never seem to give myself the time to pause.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to begin the day by opening my classroom door, turning on the light, and just pausing to enjoy our happy-looking room?

And wouldn’t it be grand to take a moment to pause when I arrive back home, to enjoy my daughter’s just-baked cookies, or the way the flowers on the dining room table glow in the late afternoon light?

….so there it is, my One Little Word for 2014: pause:

It is a calming little word.

It is a peaceful little word.

It is a little word that I need to be mindful of as I begin another busy year.

I will pause to reflect, to savor, to cherish.

I will pause to be grateful, to be aware of the moment, to be in the moment.

My one little word…. pause…



29 thoughts on “TARA’S ONE LITTLE WORD FOR 2014

  1. Really went on a long journey to find your word, but it is perfect. I felt so satisfied and the way you accepted the word pause gave me a sense of peace. I found myself breathing deeply. I predict that these pauses will be deep gifts between the times of hurry. Thank you for so eloquently describing your search and the significance of your find.


  2. I love it. We all need a little more pausing in our lives and especially our classrooms where we are feeling a constant rush! Your story was perfect! (I was worried that there was no OLW . . . I’m still kinda waiting for my word. My story is still being written … Thanks for providing me hope!)


  3. Tara, you took the time to pause and your word found you! You are so right when you remind us all to pause to reflect, savor and cherish the world around us. Wise words once again!


  4. Sometimes when we forget to pause, life makes us do it. I have spent all day in a hospital with my husband while his mother had surgery. This is the kind of life event that causes you to pause, gather your loved ones, pray. Pause, yes. She has come through well. Now to pause for recovery.


  5. Tara, this is the most perfect word! Your word did find you!! This is another word I probably could use more of in my life, too. I can’t wait to hear what “pause” does for you in 2014!


  6. It seems that when we examine our life and take a moment to pause, a word finds a way to speak to us. I’m still listening for my word, but maybe I need to pause to let it come forward. I love the way you told of your search.


  7. Tara, great visual. I like all the words you include when you talk about pause (my OLW is there). And I mentioned pause in my post, “pause and SAVOR the view with me!” I think these two words are siblings.


  8. It feels as if you did pause to wait for your own word, going about the daily tasks, being patient about it although you did have a deadline. I suspect you pause already for students, listening carefully when you talk together, so now it’s time to take the word into your life for you! Nice to hear that this will be a guide for you this year, Tara. Love the pic, BTW!


  9. I may need to adopt your word from time to time. Pausing is a much better alternative to getting wrapped up in the things that make us “crazed” and “rushed.” Hope you find the right times to use this word and may it make you more productive in the process.


  10. This is a wonderful word! It embodies what we all need to TRY to do every day in order to get the most our of our very important jobs. I too worry about the message we send when kids and our colleagues see us so rushed. It’s not “my” word….but I certainly need to take your message to heart!


  11. Tara,
    Your story about finding your OLW is amazing! I’m glad you shared how sometimes the word really finds you. As I “pause” to think about my OLW, I think pause and listen are closely related-both involve taking our time and being reflective.


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