The last day of school was the best last day of school I’ve had since starting teaching. I can’t pinpoint what exactly made it better; perhaps the change in scenery and administration, or maybe the sweet gifts I received, or thoughtful/funny notes written in my yearbook I bought (Come on people, it was the school’s first year. I had to buy a yearbook!).
Anyways, since school has ended, I’ve been involved in the Central Texas Writing Project. This links back to the National Writing Project (www.nwp.org). Kids are having a harder and harder time these days with producing thoughtful, well-written anything. The purpose of the project is to educate teachers to do meaningful, best practice teaching to help get our schools up to par, no matter WHERE or WHO you are.
For being together for just 2 weeks, our group is like family. There’s something about the writing process that helps you open up, turn around and face issues, or just express your emotions in a safe place. And honestly, there’s not a lot we haven’t covered in our time together. And think about it. Eleven people, willingly giving up their a good chunk of their summer time just to better themselves for their future students. I absolutely love these incredible teachers and have already learned a lot from them.
A huge chunk of the project is writing. You have to write a:
-Memoir piece (Which conveniently turned into a Father’s Day present… :))
– Experimental piece (poetry, fiction, multigenre… you name it)
-Book review with a few partners on a book the CTWP bought us (My group is going tomorrow for Penny Kittle’s Write Beside Them” -a great example of writer’s workshop)
-Demo Lesson: Roughly 2 hours of teaching the class a lesson like you would teach the students about writing. (I went last Wednesday, sharing the memoir I wrote about Grandma S. last summer. By the time we were done with the lesson, everyone had shed a few tears. Definite bonding experience)
– Research piece: Researching a “burning question” about teaching practices and presenting them in some format next Thursday.
And, of course, I am writing every day from 8:30-3:30 at the campus meeting site. And reading articles and short stories they give us. And participating in everything else I need to do to be successful in life.
I’m tired- no denying that. But would I change the experience? Nope. I’d go back again next summer if they’d let me, even without grad credits involved, because it’s been that great of an experience.