Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life writing community for providing this opportunity to share our "slices." Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work. Check out the other slices and join in the fun!
Well here we are...Day 1 of the SOL March Challenge. This is my first time participating. I think I read somewhere that on day 1 you could start by introducing yourself. So, here is how I arrived at SOL.
I live in upstate NY with my hubby, two boys, and dog...and my parents live down the street. That's pretty much all I need in life. They are my "people." I'm sure I'll continue to share more and more about my peeps as the writing challenge progresses this month.
Last year, I was feeling pretty uninspired in my 13th year of being a 1st and 2nd grade looping teacher. Sure, I LOVED my job and kids. But, something was missing. I had placed Teachers College on my bucket list a few years ago and I just knew it was time. With a wonderful co-worker at my side, we planned the trip. We headed to NYC from Rochester and Oh. My. Goodness. We found ourself at TC's Saturday Reunion (March 2014). And it did the trick. Inspiration from Diane Ravitch, Lucy Calkins, Stephanie Harvey and Kathy Collins filled our bucket so high I didn't know if there were enough months left of school to do all I wanted to do. But, I had a weird feeling that I needed.... more?
Shortly after that trip, the co-worker and friend that I traveled to Teachers College with received an invitation from a parent in her classroom. He needed presenters for a Teaching and Leadership program at Syracuse University. Amy called me and we said, "sure!" We were charged with the task of presenting about Literacy and the Common Core. NOT a narrow topic :) But, we got to work, loving every moment. We brought our work together. We poured over our Teachers College information. Amy came from a 5th grade teacher perspective. I came from a 1st and 2nd grade perspective. We quickly began to see that the work we did separately in our building in completely opposite wings of the school very much mirrored each other...who knew? Good literacy is good literacy. We worked and worked and one day had that moment of panic. WE are presenting at Syracuse? Why were we chosen to present at a teaching and LEADERSHIP conference? Sure, we did our fair share of presenting and leading study groups around school, but it felt so insignificant. We made a list proving to ourselves that we did indeed have a reason to have an audience at SU, but we were still not convinced.
The tap on the shoulder.
Not too long after we completed our Syracuse University "mission," we found out the two building instructional coaches in our school were not returning in the Fall. There it was. That tap on the shoulder. Literacy coach vacancy? Hmmmm. Sure it sounded like me. But, me?? Should I interview? Nah. I wasn't sure I needed change. Wait. Did I want change? What was that uninspired feeling in the beginning of the year that left me a little restless? Wait. I'm not qualified. Or am I? The torment grew and grew. I updated my resume. I wrote a cover letter. I talked with my principal. Then, I let the papers sit on my table until I finally arrived at an answer of "no." There was one day left to submit my packet and I realized I couldn't walk away from the classroom. The answer was no.
I took my answer of "no" and found a content place until I was talking with colleagues the next day. Several said "you are applying for the literacy coach position, right?" Well...I went on to explain and explain. Then, a good friend called me and gave me that push. I did it. I submitted everything on the last day. I waited for my interview. I was asked to accept the position. I was the new literacy coach.
I can't help but reflect back on how everything aligned. I credit Teachers College for filling my depleted bucket and giving me back my literacy spark that had been there, but felt stifled. The experience at Teachers College gave Amy and I the nudge we needed to consider leadership. The experience at Syracuse helped me prepare for the interview for the coaching position.
While I was preparing for the coaching interview, Amy interviewed as well. As fate would have it, she and I both were offered the spots for the two positions. Today we share a classroom as Math Coach and Literacy Coach at our school. We often stop and look at each other because one year ago we were meeting to prepare for the Syracuse presentation and now we sit here collaborating as instructional coaches of our school. Full circle moment.
I've had so much opportunity to reflect in this new role. That's when I discovered that as a teacher of reading, I had always read. But as a teacher of writing, I knew I needed to be writing. That's when I started inquiring about SOL and Leigh Anne took me under her wing as I floundered around Twitter looking for help. With her help, I took on slicing as my goal and commitment for 2015.
That's how I got here.
And, boy am I glad to be here in this wonderful community of writers.
Thanks for stopping by!