Slow and Steady

I used to think that multitasking was a good thing, but nowadays I try to focus on one thing at time. With teaching, there’s so many areas that I want to grow: differentiating, assessment, conferences, feedback, etc. I must take it one step at a time, if not, I’ll burn out.

Though, it’s easier said than done. I still attempt to do too much at once. I want to read more. I want to write more. I want to learn more. I want to blog more. I want to tweet more. I want to use Voxer. The list goes on and on, but for now I must be able to say no. I must be okay with not doing everything at once.

In the past, I would be disappointed when I realized I hadn’t been on Twitter in a few days or I hadn’t finished that book I said I’d finish. Some days I would sit and sulk, but now I’m becoming much better at managing my time. Trying to live in the moment, focusing my efforts on one things at a time.

I would also try to read up on all the news in the tech world, sports world and beyond. I used the app Flipboard whenever I had a free second, trying to read one more article. I always viewed it as beneficial, yet when I looked at it from a different perspective, it really just created a false sense of urgency. I felt disappointed if I went a day without using it.

A few weeks ago, I deleted Flipboard. I no longer read up on the tech world or the sports world. I don’t need to know everything that’s happening and quiet frankly, I couldn’t even if I tried. I’m okay with not knowing everything that’s going on. I’m more focused on cultivating my passions.

Simply put, I can’t do it all and I will never have it all figured out. Though I can slow down and better manage my time. This means I won’t always be reading up on the news, tweeting out about education, or writing something new and I’m okay with that or at least I’m getting there.

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Daybook

 

“There is no way we can tell what our students will need to write in their lives beyond the classroom, but we can give our students a successful experience in the writing process. We can let them discover how writing finds its own meaning”        -Don Murray

In an attempt to deepen my understanding of the writing process, I purchased The Essential Don Murray: Lessons From America’s Greatest Writing Teacher. Since he’s known for possessing one of the most thorough understanding of the writing process, I figured it would be worth while to read some of his thoughts/research.

So far I’m half way through and all I can say is wow. This is easily the clearest explanation of the writing process that I’ve ever read. Don goes into detail about what happens to us when we write. He defends many things that are frowned upon in school such as procrastination or staring out the window, explaining how beneficial they can be for a writer. I can already tell that I’ll need to read this a few more times and keep it as a reference.

One thing that really stuck out to me is the daybook that Don kept. It was essentially a notebook that followed him everywhere he went. He would record his thoughts, regardless of how sporadic. Don refers to it as his laboratory, a place where he could experiment. He encouraged every writer to have their own daybook, so starting today, I’ve decided to start my own. I’ve kept many notebooks in the past with my thoughts and ideas but I haven’t carried one around with me wherever I go.

I’m not sure of what I’ll record in it. Much like my 30 day blog experiment, I’m going to take it one day at a time. I’ve decided to get up 15 minutes earlier each morning so I can sit for those 15 minutes and attempt to write. My daybook will be where I’ll keep these 15 minute sessions. If I’m going to become a better writing teacher, I need to write everyday and pay close attention to what I do as I write.

 

Writing for others to see

Blog Experiment

Once again Twitter has proven to be a great resource for professional growth. I recently stumbled upon this blog post, in which the author, Nicholas Keith, explains the difficulties of writing for others to see. Keeping a blog isn’t easy for me, mainly because I’m afraid of others seeing my “poor” writing. However, I shouldn’t be afraid to put my thoughts out there. After all, I want my students to write without a constant fear of criticism, so I must model that behavior no matter how scary it is.

This blog post has inspired me to create my own 30 day blog challenge, or rather a 30 day blog experiment. I will write a new blog post everyday regardless of how poor I think it is.I don’t have any particular topics outlined. I’m just going to sit down each day and write something that I think is worth sharing.

Day 1 : Regretful

I’ll start day 1 with one of my biggest regrets. I didn’t read much in school. I took it for granted. I was blind and ignorant. Just as my students, I felt like my time was better spent playing games or hanging out with my friends. I wanted to read, but was consumed by the others things in my life. Towards the end of my time at URI, I realized this mistake. I felt guilty that I was becoming an English teacher and didn’t value reading as much as I should have. Eventually I put down the video games and picked up a book.

Three years into teaching and I’ve read more books than I did throughout my entire academic career. I’ve completely changed my outlook on reading. I wouldn’t be the educator I am today without reading so many great books. At one point, I was trying to make up for lost time and had too many books to read. There’s no going back. I regret not reading as much as I should have, but the past is the past.

Now I need to make sure that my students don’t make the same mistake that I made.