A new position has thrown me into worlds I need to learn. It’s exciting and at times, overwhelming. But I’ve found establishing a rhythm, and a sense of self in my new teaching role is a bigger challenge than learning curriculum.
Every day is filled. It overflows. So much so that it’s hard to see and reflect on. Looking at the pieces of daily work I struggle to find the whole. Planning for an end goal is different in practice. And this is a reason to celebrate. Celebration brings out the whole. It centers on the beauty of the moment. It is not a calibration of achievement or attainment of a standard. It is regenerative and a necessary ingredient of teaching. Celebration recovers our purpose beyond the lesson and beyond the unit. Celebration lifts up our shared humanity. Our struggles and our accomplishments. This week I am glad to be back to celebrate the beauty that exists in growth and learning.
This week we reached the end of a writing unit. Staring out with a choral share, Just lift one sentence, a line, a word from your piece, I said. Many shared. Some again and again. But at least half sat still and silent. From there we broke into groups of four, and the chatter began.
Three boys stood alone near each other. Paralyzed for many reasons. I nudged them toward each other. Resigned to their fate, they moved together and one shared. Then another. They had all struggled through the writing process, unsure of what to do, of how to harness their thoughts onto a page. Now after gathering, planning, reflecting, drafting and revising, each had in their hands a journey of the heart. A delicate piece of themselves. Seen through the lens of this moment and in relation to their peers, their moves to share appear small. But knowing the whole, seeing the days that led up to this, they were the bravest in the room. And in the end, I’d venture to say, had grown the most as writers.
The room was buzzing as I called them together once again to share. Some of the students who chose to share were no surprise. Some who shared again and again in the choral share sat to listen. Others, ones who refused to read one word in the choral share, buoyed by their group reading, stepped up. We reached the end of our time together before all had had a chance. With promises to continue the next day, we moved off the carpet to the chatter of, that was fun!
This week I celebrate the writers in room 32. Their process, their enthusiasm, their bravery and the joy in simply celebrating.
Read more celebrations here at Ruth Ayers Writes.