Tomorrow feels like the first day of school to me. We have actually been back for a week, but tomorrow I will be launching the writing workshop along with some wonderful teachers in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms in my school.
Yikes! I am scared.
We had a day-long, county-wide literacy specialists' meeting this past Thursday in my district. Along with the information, news, data review, technology bites, and on and on that made up our meeting, was the introduction of the book we will be reading and discussing this year, Good to Great Teaching Focusing on the Literacy Work That Matters, by Mary Howard. Mary Howard is an author and educator who, according to the book jacket, "supports teachers across the country in creating high-quality literacy experiences for every child." Richard L. Allington wrote the Foreword to this book. That says a lot!!
We were only asked to read the Introduction to Good to Great Teaching Focusing on the Literacy Work That Matters last Thursday as a kickoff to our book club. But, I am already excited and eager to read her book this year...because in just the very first pages of her book, Mary Howard touched on a significant aspect of my practice this year. Fear.
I am going to quote from Mary's book:
"You see, doing something that scares us every day allows us to slowly chip away our fears as the initial discomfort dissipates. From an instructional perspective, we have two choices. We can accept the status quo or we can change our little corner of the world." (xix)
I am counting on being scared this year as I teach our youngest students to think of and believe in themselves as writers. But, I am also counting on that fear abating as this work builds on itself.
In my practice, I have historically been a painstakingly thorough lesson-planner. Thinking through student learning objectives, county pacing requirements, resources, assessments, learning styles, teaching points, differentiation strategies, etc. has been my way of organizing my teaching. It fits my style. Don't tell anyone, but I kind of like to sit down for a few hours and plan the scope and sequence of a unit's lessons. Being prepared helps me be a better teacher.
And, this year, being prepared will help me feel less scared.
So, as we get ready to launch the writing workshop tomorrow, I have created two 4-week calendars to keep me on track. One is for kindergarten and the other is for 1st grade.
I know when I go to sleep tonight, I will be as nervous and excited as the little ones I'm going to teach felt the night before their first day of school. But being scared is not always a bad thing. I'm hoping that for me, and for our students, being scared helps us change our world.
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