When someone asked me about my writing the other night, I gave an honest answer: I’m not.
Not now at least.
Well, as I mentioned in “On Hiatus Till December,” I’m fully committed to my new position and in providing ALL of my students with diverse learning opportunities.
What does “diverse learning opportunities” mean?
Engaging activities that get kids out of their seats.
Chances to explore and uncover on their own.
Assignments beyond the critical response and an essay to culminate the unit accessible to ALL learners.
New texts across genres.
Less talking at the kids and telling.
The past four-plus months have been as challenging as any in my educational career. I had forgotten how much work goes into starting anew somewhere else. I took for granted all that goes in to being a good teacher, including unit planning, teaching for understanding, and collecting data to inform instruction. And only now am I beginning to get my feet under me as I continue to build positive relationships with my students and push them to realize their potential.
And I can confidently say that’s happening.
I’m professionally happy for the first time in a long time. I’m personally happy too. Living my best life, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. While my wife and I have no baby announcements – and don’t expect to have any anytime soon – I definitely have refocused myself on being the most supportive husband I can be as my wife has been tackling a new and even more demanding position at work. With this has come my sacrificing some of my writing time, which I can’t say has always been the case in the past – whether it be chasing the sun with friends or devoting an unreasonable amount of time to my writing and my work overall. As strong as my foundation is, everyone also needs support. And it took me a long time to realize that.
Even if I’m not writing my fiction, I know I will come back to my edits on ‘Knowing When You’re Too Young to Grow Up’ the second the school year ends. And then I’ll finish my edits on the comprehensive outline I put together for ‘The Heroin Times’ and get back to completing a manuscript. Finally, I’ll edit my units of study and come back to school at the end of August ready to give a new group of students THE eighth grade ELA experience.
So, there’s my plan.
Now, it’s back to putting together this new unit and grading and differentiating instruction, and being the best teacher I can possibly be.
For my students – students, overall – deserve no less.