OLW Check In

There’s no denying now that summer is over. For a while there, even though we were back to school, the days were warm and bright, flip-flops and short sleeve shirts were still in rotation, and summer seemed just slightly out of grasp. Now, as we approach mid-October and the evenings are darker, the air has a chill and pumpkins line my front steps, I know that fall is here, with winter just around the corner. It’s been almost a year since I chose “Audacious” as my OLW for 2017. Today I am checking in on my One Little Word.

Last January, I wrote, “My One Little Word this year is about having faith in myself and confidence in my ability. It doesn’t mean I believe I don’t have more to learn-  I know I do- but it is acknowledging that I DO know some things, can speak from the heart about what I’ve learned and be authentic. It’s about dreaming big and working hard and going for it, without apologizing for myself, or putting myself down for working towards these goals. It’s allowing myself to feel proud of the contributions I am making to my profession.”

How have I been audacious this year? I’ve taken some risks. There was an opportunity to give up student desks and switch to tables, with more opportunities for flexible seating. I went for it, even though I was a little nervous about where students would put all their things and how it would go. It was a risk worth taking as I love the tables in my room and the increased opportunities for student collaboration and flexible seating. I also ditched the teacher’s desk once and for all and haven’t looked back. Another risk I’ve taken, in the spirit of being audacious, is rethinking my homework policy. Students are asked to read every day and are given “home opportunities for learning” that are optional. (I look forward to sharing more about this in an upcoming post!)

Part of being “audacious” has been seeking out opportunities to grow as a teacher and recognizing when certain positions are not for me. For a while I thought that I would like to become a literacy or instructional coach, but I’ve come to realize I’m happiest when working with my own students each day. Down the line, who knows…but for now, there is so much for me to do and learn by being in the classroom. I’ve signed up to lead workshops on using digital tools to maximize student voice and enjoy the chance to collaborate with fellow teachers. I am looking for ways to grow and also share what I’ve learned and tried. I also cherish my role as co-director of the Long Island Writing Project, an organization that supports teachers and values writing.

Being part of the Two Writing Teachers continues to be a professional dream come true and I’m grateful to be part of this community of educators who care so much about the teaching of writing. Sometimes I feel less than audacious, but push myself to write and publish here because I believe teachers voices matter. While I don’t have many answers and still have many questions, I’m glad to be part of the collegial conversation- sharing my experiences, ideas and struggles here with all of you.

It’s time to start thinking and dreaming of the word that will shape 2018. 2016 was all about “happy” for me and this year was about fearlessly chasing my goals and being “audacious.” What will 2018 bring? The wheels are starting to spin! What was your OLW and how did it treat you so far this year?