I just finished chapter one in Write What Matters from Tom Romano. Gretchen Bernabei recommended the book at her two day staff development. She shared a wonderful recommendation for the book. It seems that Write What Maters book will cure what ails me. I bought it this morning. I briefly read the introduction and it spoke to me very loudly. This book gets me and I get to read it everyday.
When I left the Gretchen Bernabei two day staff development, I felt calm and refreshed. There is so much to explore. There is so much to do. I long to do what I know is best for my students. Reading and Writing is a process. As such, it cannot be rushed for the sake of a test. I know that I must stand firm in the courage of my convictions. The students are doing fine, where they are. They have grown so much as readers and writers since August. They will continue to grow as readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists and social scientists. It takes time.
In the first chapter of Write What Matters, Tom Romano ended it with an assignment of 15 minutes or longer. Write about why you write, what you get out of it, what rewards hold for you. I thought about going to bed early, but I couldn't let it rest. The writing in me has to come out because if I don't get it out, I think that what bothers me will eat me alive inside. For me, writing is my way of expression, venting, figuring out what I think, my way of being, and it is a generative and transformative process. I don't think I could go too long without it. Blogging is my way of practicing my writing with much frequency. It is empowering and it allows me to discover who I am and what I believe. This idea of testing has bothered me and has been weighing on my mind for some time. It has a hold of me and writing about it is a cathartic act. I can write about it and then let it go...or not.
Just as writing is life, so is teaching. Teaching and writing goes hand in hand. I love teaching my students. I love to see the writing light shine upon them. I don't want testing to get in the way of their brilliance or stop the flow of the classroom. It inevitably does though. That is what I have always hated about standardized testing. You get into a groove teaching and this uninvited guest knocks on the door, comes in and ransacks the place. It rearranges the furniture, knocks down photos, breaks glass onto the floor, and throws the mail all over the place. I come home, metaphorically, to my place (class), and have to pick up the pieces and try to get back into the groove. When it is all over, it takes me some time to get back on track. Hurricane Testing has subsided, but I must clean up the space again. Is there a better way? I am sure there is, but that is not my reality. I have to accept periodic testing and build a suspension bridge and get over it. Thanks the Good Lord for writing. It is my Golden Gate Bridge of acceptance and processing. Teaching and writing are inextricably linked to one another in my world. That is fine with me. My life would be such a bore without them.
This took longer than 15 minutes. Thanks for the chapter one! Now onto chapter two. I am so looking forward to the reading and writing exercises in this book!
Thanks Gretchen for the recommendation!