Slice of Life: Slow to Notice

Tuesday is time for Slice of Life. Thank you, Two Writing Teachers blog for a place to live as writers. Read more slices here.

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I don’t run outside much anymore.  I miss the landscape and the weather, but time on the road can wear you down, so I’ve come inside.  Today for some reason, I decided to go out.

The first steps, first block, second block were slow. Memories of years and miles of running on this very street did not match my current state. It felt all wrong.

After about a mile, it became more familiar. Either I’d picked up the pace, or my brain adjusted.

At the turn around point, I walked out to the edge of the park that overlooks the bay. Three surfers were sitting patiently waiting for a wave. I watched, taking in the Pacific breeze.

In years past, I wouldn’t have stopped or slowed. I would have been watching my pace, comparing it to the last run. I would have missed this.

This long Labor Day weekend let a lot of slow happen. With more time,  I was allowed the luxury of slow.

Tomorrow starts the fourth week with kids, and my fear of going too slow is building. I’ve kept it at bay. Longer than I usually do. I wanted a solid community and was determined not to rush.

Now for the business of assessment. I’m working through running records, one kid at a time. I hear them, take notes, and students adjust their reading goals afterward. It takes time. And during each conference, I learn, not just about this student, but about reading. It’s exciting; my notes hold next steps. But I worry, is my pace too slow?

This year, I’ve pushed kids to reach a little higher than I usually do at the beginning of the year, just to see what they can do. It’s taking time, and it’s pushing them to places where they struggle a bit.  Through conversation, they teach me so much. I try to tuck in a teach and nudge them to set a goal.  What they write down gives me feedback, and I clarify next steps.

This year, I’ve spent time digesting the new Teachers College Reading Units of Study and Jenn Serravallo’s Reading Strategy Book and my awareness and knowledge of how readers might approach text has grown.

This year, I see more. Perhaps it’s because I’m pushing kids to uncomfortable places.  Perhaps it’s because I know a little bit more. Perhaps it’s because I am going slower and noticing.

The pace feels uncomfortable at times. But I don’t to rush to match what was, to get through the list, or to get to the next lesson. This year, I want to pay attention and name what I see.

This year, I’m adjusting my pace.  I’m hoping by going thoughtfully and purposely; I’ll find more. Taking the time to stop and notice something I wouldn’t have seen before.