Saturday, March 9, 2013

Where Have You Been?

Photo credits to:
animegirlsbookshelf.blogspot.com
Teaching is damn hard.  The good, reflective kind:  it's really hard.  I don't care what anyone says about summers off, easy hours, tenure, job security, blah, blah, blah.  People who fight that fight have never been in the classroom to fight the fight that we're fighting.  If you are doing it right, it's just plain hard.  That's where I've been.

I've been teaching.  Teaching middle schoolers, teaching teachers, teaching myself.  We've been close reading, writing about reading, answering text-dependent questions, examining non fiction, completing performance tasks, debating, arguing, and writing about those debates and arguments.  We're researching, citing, and reflecting.  Whatever the CCSS buzz word is, we're teaching it. We're doing it.

I've been reflecting.  Each time I don't see a student moving forward, I pore through another book, another strategy, another method to try to find another strategy to reach that student.  When a lesson goes so-so, I run, no sprint, back to the drawing board to find ways to engage, inspire, and guide our learners.  Maybe it's technology that will do the trick?  Was I talking too much?  Did I set the purpose for learning?  Is the lesson, or assignment relevant, authentic, rigorous?  Am I reaching each learner in their zone of proximal development?  Am I fostering independence?  Why am I working harder than them???

So, I've been reading.  Boy, have I been reading.  Donna Santman's new book, Shades of Meaning, was a great, quick inspiration.  I'm navigating my way though the brilliant Randy Bomer's newest masterpiece, Building Adolescent Literacy in Today's English Classrooms.  I finally made it through Professional Capital by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fuller and I also finished Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks, Jr.  After hearing Kylene Beers speak at TC's February Content Area Institute, I ran out and devoured Notice and Note, her genius take on close reading.  Some of my favorite bloggers and educators like Chris Lehman, Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts, the Melanies of Two Reflective Teachers, Grant Wiggins, Choice Literacy and Education Week  keep me on my toes as their writing and teaching inspire me every day.

Oh, and I'm six months pregnant.  So I've been sleeping.  And eating.  I've been doing a lot of eating.

But now I'm blogging.  And I'm back.  Nine inches of snow fell on my lawn yesterday, and today the birds are chirping.   I've been away for too long.  Teaching is damn hard, but teaching, reflecting, reading and then blogging:  well, it's damn energizing, too.