There Was Nothing to Fear After All

Let me catch you up on the week. On Tueday’s slice of life, I expressed trepidation about my next three working days. I was meeting with teachers (I did not know) on their plan period to talk about writing instruction and then I would spend the next two days modeling a writing lesson in each teacher’s class. It’s always the unknown that causes fear to rise up and grab hold of your mind.

For the most part, I received a very warm welcome (or was it because of the chocolates on the table?). “I am so glad you are here. I have been asking for writing forever!” were phrases I heard on Wednesday. I gave the teachers a comfort level survey of ten items for them to rate just so I could get a feel for what they know about writing. They were open and honest in their appraisal of their knowledge. However, there was one teacher who put a 4 next to every topic (the ratings were 1-4). Maybe the teachers will be able to use her for a resource. The day passed quickly as the teachers came in for their short period. They were truly interested. The teaching-learning facilitator (TLF) stayed by my side all day. She had lots of questions about my thoughts on reading and writing. It was enjoyable to have conversations related to best teaching practices. Later that evening she sent me an email thanking me for a great day.

Thursday began modeling lessons in classes. My first class was third grade and this teacher was eager to learn. I was teaching a lesson about keeping a focus in writing. She whips out her iPad and begins to film the lesson. She is moving all around the room following me and the students as we work through the lesson. That was a new experience for me. Fifth grade was all about discovering common leads in mentor texts. We began an anchor chart of leads (the teacher asked if I could leave it, absolutely I said). Then it was on to a split fourth/fifth grade class. I had a story (it was about swimming and leeches) and the question was did I give enough details to tell it fully? Of course I left a few poignant facts out. This was a noisy group, but we got the job done. Time for lunch and two more lessons before the day is done. After lunch, I went to second grade and the lesson was on beginning sentences in different ways. The day is almost over, but there is one more fourth grade class. My lesson was to be the same one I did in the split class, piece of cake, right? Not so much so. It was the end of the day and they were in no mood to work with me. Let’s just say, I earned my pay during that period.

Friday was for kindergarten, first grade, and another second grade. Do you remember what Friday was? Read Across America day! There were guest readers in and  out. Students with headband Cat in the Hat hats and just general craziness happening all day. All in all, it was a successful day. At 3:45 I get into my car to begin the three and a half hour drive home. I am on autopilot as I navigate the city traffic and head down the road. Finally I am home, now I have a little time to read and comment on some slices before going to bed. I am wiped out with exhaustion.

I go back to this school at the end of the month. I will go with anticipation not trepidation, because I know more about what they are hoping to learn. I can help them down the path of writer’s workshop. For some it will be a bumpy ride, but most want to jump on this roller coaster and take their students for the ride of their life. This will be fun!