Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Complex Forest of Reading and Writing: What have you found on your journey?

Saugatuck, Michigan
This summer is yet another journey into deeper learning.  My insane teaching friends and I try to stay away from "shop talk" aka "teaching talk." But, to no avail,  our passions rise to the surface.  We are caught in our free time reading and talking and reflecting about teaching.  After many summers of trying to fight it, take a break, create some distance, I have finally accepted that the passion for teaching and learning is a deep part of who I am and not just what I do.  My deeper learning this summer is around reading and writing.  If you are not in education, this may sound too broad a subject to undertake.  But, as a life long goal, teachers are not only caught in the day to day objectives and test questions associated with reading and writing.  It is so much more than that.  The image I have chosen, taken in the deep woods of Michigan serves as a metaphor for the study and reflection  about reading and writing.  The depth of language explored in message between author and reader continues to surprise me, scare me, excite me.  Making a connection between the beginnings of language development with my little people ages 5-8 (first and second graders)  with my own language journey through my adulthood truly connects to the image of the seed growing into a plant maturing into a young tree and finally changing as an adult plant.  That is one way to see the image of the forest.  We are a community of writers and readers, interacting with each other as a growing body, each of us trees.

So what am I learning?  First, the act of reflection never loses its power.  No matter where you are in any career, you are a human being, created with the power and will to create and make meaning!  So, upon entering my 20th year of teaching and learning, I am going deeper into the woods of writing.  This is a dense, complex forest.  Sometimes its hard to see and you have to feel your way through, making your own path.  Part of my path as a writer has been continuing to blog about my learning.  What can you teach me?  If you write, please share your struggle and lonely journey.  In our age of technology, it does not need to be a path of solitude.  We have enough teaching solitude in our classrooms (not that I don't adore spending my days with the little people.)  Please jump into the conversation!  Even if you are not so sure of your online presence, take a risk. If you have the courage to engage on Facebook, Twitter, email, Instagram, heck, texting, then take a leap to share your learning in these contexts.  This is real reading and writing people.  We have this opportunity to share all we do for 180 days in our mini communities.    Don't be afraid to celebrate your amazing journey through the woods.

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