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
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play by your own rules
What are your rules for working toward flow as a writer? How will you enact them right now, today, as you work on your Teacher As Writer badge? How do you help yourself just “shut up and get on with it”?
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.
Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down.
Looking back at the Teacher As Writer pose in Pose, Wobble, Flow (Garcia & O'Donnell-Allen, 2015, p. 76), pause for a moment and consider, where do you wobble as a writer in relation to these elements of this pose? What strategies can you imagine using that will help you through that wobble? How do you feel about wobbling as a writer in with your students? Will you do it? What are the risks and rewards?
no vulnerability, no learning
In her video “Daring Classrooms” (linked below), Brené Brown uses the phrase “no vulnerability, no learning.” When you think about spaces that have allowed you to thrive as a learner, what conditions have been in place that have made that possible? How did people interact in these spaces? How did people treat one another? What non-negotiable principles-- spoken and/or implicit--were in place to guide these interactions and relationships? In sum, what allowed you and others to take positive risks for learning?
What is your "fierce attachment"?
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 "this-I-believes" (which Mike Rose might call "educational ideals") in regard to teaching and education? How do you anticipate that these ideals might guide your work in the classroom?
What's the song that gets you through?
What is your personal theme song/fight song/or get-you-through-the-hard-times song--the one that you play on repeat when you’re feeling most vulnerable? Why is that song the song? How does it tap into your strongly held convictions about what it means to be a whole human being? Write about the song’s significance to you personally; then if you can, write about any connections you can make to your own teaching.
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. Go back to a moment when an educator allowed you to believe in yourself. Write about that moment and also consider how you can be that teacher for your own students, too.
PROMPTS FROM PREVIOUS SEMESTERS:
The National Day on Writing...
...happens every year on October 20. It was founded by the National Council of Teachers of English as an event for teachers and their students, but it's caught on beyond education (even with NFL players!). The challenge is simply to write about why you write and to post your responses to social media, using the hashtag #whyIwrite. For today’s Morning Pages, write about why you write, then post a tweet with the hashtags #whyIwrite and #co301D. (Later, if you want to check out how people participated and get teaching ideas related to the event, I encourage you to Google "National Day on Writing," and search the #whyIwrite hashtag on Twitter.)
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.
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. In what ways do you imagine that you might struggle as you attempt to live out those values on a daily basis in your classroom? What are some ways you can make it through those challenges to be the really great teacher you have the potential to be?
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What's your position on the Privilege Walk?
The "Privilege Walk" has become a popular exercise in many classrooms to make the effects of privilege visible to students. As you watch this video, put yourself in the position of one of the participants and write from her/his perspective for a few minutes. What do you notice? What do you feel? Then shift to the perspective of teacher and consider: Would you use this exercise in your classroom or not? What might the costs and benefits be of doing so?
open door policy
"Teacher researchers have an ethical obligation to open their classroom doors and share their knowledge within and beyond the profession."