It's Slice of Life Tuesday. Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for hosting this wonderful writing community each and every Tuesday!
Last week I was fortunate enough to hear Lucy Calkins speak at a conference titled: “Leading Implementation of Units of Study in Writing and Reading K-8.” Anytime I hear Lucy speak I come away feeling inspired, and this time was no different. Her words gave me just the right nudge I needed to move forward with the balanced literacy initiative we started in our district 5 years ago.
Lucy Calkins began the conference discussing the need to reform our teaching of literacy. She reminded us that in the past it was the teacher’s job to bring knowledge to the uninformed. Times have certainly changed as she reminded us that almost any tidbit of information can easily accessed through a swipe on our watch. With all this information at our fingertips our job as a teacher, the purveyor of information has changed. We now need to teach students how to access, how to evaluate, how to organize, how to synthesize and how to apply that knowledge. The problem with all of this is unfortunately many of us were not taught to teach this way. Before we can teach this to our students we need to learn how to do this ourselves, as a team and never alone. In order to move forward we need to rally around a shared vision and work towards that goal as a team. Lucy made this point very real by sharing a very emotional story with the message: “we don’t want to be alone in the hard parts of life.” She charged us to become a community with a shared vision and dream and to lead by influence, inspiring our colleagues to prioritize what is important and to focus on what matters.
If I sit too long with these thoughts I could easily get overwhelmed with the arduous tasks ahead. As we move ahead in our district with the next steps in literacy instruction, I need to keep my thoughts positive and my spirits high. I know that this is hard work, but I feel fortunate that I am not alone in this effort. I work with fabulous colleagues that believe in the same dream and vision and therefore judge that together we can maintain the focus and keep the passion high even when the work gets hard. Lucy said it best: This work is NOT for the weak of heart. It is a lot of work, but it works.