I will never forget “the call.”
This journey began for me with some encouragement from my assistant principal, Jen Bourque. “You should start a blog,” she told me one day in her office. “You have a lot to teach people.” So I did. And for all of you who have done this- you launched a blog- you will remember the exhilaration, the worry- will anyone think this is any good? Will anyone read what I write?
And then… my first retweet of a blog post! And from none other than the formidable and wonderful Fran McVeigh, a friend to many of us in the literacy community. I felt I had crossed a threshold. I was off to the races! as they say.
Flash forward a few years, when “the call” came. Turning the corner one overcast and otherwise normal school day, I began to make my way around the lake toward my home. Suddenly, I noticed a rather lengthy Direct Message pop up on my phone. Curious, I pulled over to read it. Opening up the message, I noticed it came Stacey Shubitz, the Chief of Operations of a blog I had been following for years entitled, “Two Writing Teachers.” She had extended an invitation to discuss a possible co-authorship position with the TWT Team. I felt similar exhilaration and worry- could I really take this on? I wondered.
It has now been three and a half years since that fateful message arrived. Since then, it has been my great honor and privilege to write alongside this amazing and dedicated team: Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Melanie, and recently Amy, Marina, and Therapi. This work has pushed me in some of the most gratifying ways, and for that I will always be grateful.
That said, a different “call” has now sounded: the time has come for me to depart from my role as co-author in the TWT Community. With new complexity posed by our current COVID reality, and a still-very-young family, I am finding that work-life balance now means deepening my focus within a shorter list of commitments. I want to thank Stacey for the opportunity to contribute here on Two Writing Teachers- Stacey, thank you for believing in me and the power of my writing. I also want to thank my co-authors, both past and present, for your support, inspiration, and collaborative spirit. It has been such a pleasure to work with you and read your work (which I will certainly continue to do!) You have all taught me what it means to perform a labor of love for the betterment of kids, teachers, coaches, and literacy. You gals rock!
Finally, I want to thank our readers. Please know your comments and retweets mean so much to me, and to all of us- especially now. It has been my honor to know that you have read and valued some of what I have written on this blog. I have learned so much from the insights, comments, and writing that you have shared with us over the years. I consider you all friends, even if I have never met you.
Let me close with a quote from E.B. White that I dedicate to all of you- readers, co-authors, commenters and non-commenters alike: “You have been my friend, and that in itself is a tremendous thing” (Charlotte’s Web, 1952).
I look forward to seeing some of you on Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge days.
Farewell friends and colleagues,
For more than 27 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops, twowritingteachers.org.