In the picture book They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel, each page illustrates the way a different animal “sees” a house cat. To a dog the cat is lanky and suspicious, to a fish the cat is a blur through the glass of the aquarium, and to a mouse the cat appears as a fiery monster. Each animal sees the cat through their own perspective, through the lens of their own experiences.
That is how the past school year feels. As educators, we all experienced the pandemic, but how we see it can vary dramatically depending on our individual circumstances. For some, the pandemic meant switching completely to virtual teaching and then staying that way, perhaps to this day. For others, the school year brought one change after another–first hybrid, then fully virtual, then back in-person five days a week, teaching small children from behind plexiglass, only to go back to being fully virtual again.
Some educators experienced an outpouring of support like they’ve never seen – whether it was time to collaboratively plan with colleagues, home-made face coverings to start the school year, extra personal days, or thank you notes from families and colleagues. Other educators experienced a dismal lack of recognition or support from their communities, and pressed on anyway. Others made the tough decision to leave the profession all together.
Recently, I reflected with a large group of educators with whom I work closely. Their feelings about this school year ranged from a sense of deep loss, hope for positive changes that will last, grief for lost loved ones and colleagues, personal anxiety over jobs, health, our families’ well-being, and more.
This week, our team at Two Writing Teachers plans to pause to reflect on this unusual school year, and share our thoughts on what we experienced and what shifts in our work we hope to see going forward.
On Sunday, Therapi will share her thoughts on how this year contained important lessons on incorporating social-emotional learning into everything we do as teachers of writing.
On Monday, Stacey will share thoughts on ways we all can improve conferring with individual students going forward.
On Tuesday, Amy will reflect on how leveraging technology can offer more frequent and impactful feedback for students.
On Wednesday, Melanie writes about how this past year affirmed the importance of multimodal writing.
On Thursday, Betsy will write about how this year required more integration of writing into other subject areas for her, and she plans to carry this forward.
On Friday, I (Beth) will reflect on how this year highlighted the importance of collaborating with caregivers and families at home.
On Monday, May 10, Kathleen will announce the winner of our book giveaway. Throughout the series, comment on any of our May 2021 blog series posts for a chance to win a copy of The Responsive Writing Teacher, by Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum.
Past posts on reflection:
- Student Self-Reflection: Looking Back and Moving Forward
- Student Reflection Needs to Be A Habit
- The Intentional Educator Planner
- Asking Students What Worked
- Five Questions for Reflection
- End of Workshop Share and Reflection Time
- Ending the Year with A Group Reflection
- This giveaway is for a copy of The Responsive Writing Teacher by Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum. Many thanks to Corwin Literacy for donating a copy for one reader.
- For a chance to win this copy of The Responsive Writing Teacher, please leave a comment about this post by Saturday, May 8th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Kathleen Sokolowski will use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose names she will announce at the bottom of the ICYMI post on Monday, May 10th. NOTE: You must have a U.S. mailing address to enter the giveaway.
- Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so Kathleen can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, our contact at Corwin will ship your book out to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
- If you are the winner of the book, Kathleen will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – MAY BLOG SERIES. Please respond to Kathleen’s e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.