YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT TAYLOR MALI AND HIS WORK ON HIS WEBSITE.
IMAGE CREDIT: Ulpun La-Inyan website
"I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort and disappointment and perseverance."
~ VINCENT VAN GOGH
The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying "Faire et se taire" (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as "Shut up and get on with it." - Helen Simpson
IMAGE CREDIT: Community Blogs
Write a letter to...
...your future self on your first day of teaching. What do you really value as an English teacher? Get that down on paper so that you won't forget. What are one or two small ways that you can imagine living out the work you're doing on your current badge on your very first day? What challenges can you imagine? What are some ways you can make it through those challenges to be the really great teacher you have the potential to be?
Write an open letter to Sonia Nieto, explaining why YOU want to teach now.
What do you, too, believe?
In "The Careful Cultivation of Belief," English teacher Sherri Medwin challenges readers to consider that the core beliefs that guide our work need "careful cultivation..., rich soil and ample space to extend to extend [their] young shoots," and a "network of roots to sustain [them] through inclement weather." What are your core beliefs in regard to teaching and education? How do you anticipate that these ideals will guide your work with students when you have your own classroom?
PROMPTS FROM PREVIOUS SEMESTERS
living a legacy
According to researcher Brené Brown, over 90% of us can remember a specific teacher, coach, or administrator who made us believe in ourselves when no one else did...or didn't. Go back to a moment when an educator made a difference in your life, for good or for ill. Write about that moment and how it is shaping the teacher you want to be for your future students, too. If it makes sense to do so, write about any connections you see to the badge you're currently working on.
Who's your you?
What qualities make an ideal “trusted first reader” for your work? Who is the “one single reader” whom you can write to, someone who will really “get” you and benefit from what you have to share? Who’s your “you”? How can you be that reader for others?
So, what's your major?
You've probably been asked this question a million times. And in the introduction to Why We Teach Now, Sonia Nieto asks another version of it, too. She writes:
What “good questions” do have now about yourself as a writer and a teacher that you didn’t hold at the beginning of this semester? How will these questions guide the way you “walk through the world”? How will they guide your work with your future students and your participation in the profession?
Write yourself a letter. In the first half of the letter, consider this: What has happened to get you to this place, right now today, where you sit in this room? What has gone right? What has gone wrong? If your younger self were a student in your future classroom, what advice would you give?
what is the use of poetry?
In "Poetry As Insurgent Art," Lawrence Ferlinghetti writes, "The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it." If that is indeed the case, how would poetry respond?
In Mindfulness for Beginners, Jon Kabat-Zinn claims that "not knowing is not such a bad thing" (p. 73). As a student who is becoming a teacher, do you agree? Why or why not? How will your answer affect your work with your future students (who may or may not agree with Jon Kabat-Zinn)?
seeing beyond the surface
What does it mean to really see someone? What does seeing someone require? What does it mean to be seen? What does being seen require? What does any of this have to do with being a learner, a teacher, a writer, and a human being inside and outside of school?
the big wait
I love my school and my campus and I don't want to go anywhere else. But its lonely. This transition is so much harder in a way I never imagined. Theres not really anything to do about it--you've dreamed about this for years. You've wanted this your whole life. You've done everything you could to get here. Now what? When you realize this isn't exactly what you imagined, what you had hoped for, and you don't even know if you'll get what you want anywhere else. I mean, I can't do anything else except wait. Wait for the wind to change. Wait for the seasons to pass. Wait for something.
IMAGE CREDIT: Living in Mommywood
If you're doing the Unfamiliar Genre Project correctly, you're probably wobbling right now. Write yourself a letter as a writer. Actually begin with phrase, "Dear Me." What are you working on right this minute? Where are you in your process? What's going well? Where could you use some help? What will you do next? Be as kind to yourself as you might be to a friend who could use some encouragement.
What is the power of "not yet"...
...for you as a writer-teacher? Think about the terms “growth mindset” and “fixed mindset” in regard to your personal history as a writer. Also, was there anything you found to be problematic about Dweck's ideas? It’s okay to push back.