I finally realized a few years ago that it actually takes until November before I feel truly settled with a new group of students. During the first week we learn names and stand-out characteristics, some likes and dislikes. After the newness wears off and the kids begin to feel safe in their new environment, truer patterns of behavior emerge. In mid to late October I learn about things that have been flying under the radar--the unknown math skills a certain girl possesses, the lack of phonetic knowledge covered up by a good visual memory. Initial feelings of "Oh no...how did I not notice?" lead to a revised course of instruction.
So here I am, just coming out of the whirlwind of the intense initiation into the new year, already two viruses down, lots of laughs as well as struggles, and feeling like I have a deeper sense of each individual's strengths and needs.
My teaching partner and I have already revised our previous year's math curriculum to move deeper into problem solving, and we recently met Pete Bowers, who completely turned around our ideas about word study and spelling instruction. We presented at a large-scale conference our school hosted, and tomorrow we're visiting the Wonder of Learning exhibit in Monterey, an exhibition based on the Reggio Emilia schools in Italy.
Needless to say, we keep ourselves busy.
But school life is not my only true passion, and so I continue my quest to maintain a work-life balance and devote time in accordance with my heart's desires. I began this blog with the intention of teaching myself how to write regularly, how to make time in the midst of an otherwise full life.
November arrived and several moments of madness pointed to my need to sign up for NaNoWriMo (otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month.) And so I did. This morning.
(I say this succinctly to encourage the idea that this is no big deal, but my ego wants to shout: THIS IS A REALLY BIG DEAL!!!)
It's five days in, but I don't mind. Whatever I get done toward the 50,000 word goal will be far more than I've been getting done for the better part of 7 1/2 years (the official moment I decided to Become a Writer.) I'm entering into the endeavor with a sense of play, the practice of non-editing, and radical self-belief. It's all an exercise in letting go of fear, anyway. Let the writing be wild and reckless! I have a good supply of band-aids and lots of Halloween chocolate. That should take care of any serious injuries that occur.
Alright! I'll let you know how it goes. Feel free to bother me about it. I'm sure I'll need all the encouragement I can get!