I stand in the kitchen, thinking: Slice of Life. What could I write? I’m confused right now. But knowing that we, my students and I, are going to start a four-week cycle of Slice of Life blogging (thank you Tara for your inspiration), I knew I had to write if for no other reason than to experience writing when I don’t know what to say, or when what I have to say isn’t the best thing. So I write.
My reality, when I step back and really look, is often not as bad or as good as I thought.
Last week I viewed a writing workshop lesson I had done. Before I watched, I felt pretty good about it. It was a lesson with all the bells and whistles and tons of conferring work. Then I watched it. I saw some good, but what I saw and heard made me cringe. My voice. Stop talking is all I could think. So I’m pushing myself, once again, to take more of a backseat approach and just let things move without my every direction and correction.
Today, we read aloud a great part of Wonder. Students were engaged; loving the book. Then recess and lunch happened.
Students returned, pink cheeked, sweaty, loud outside the classroom door. On their desks was feedback on work they did last week. They came in. I waited for them to settle. I asked them to review the comments, jot responses in their notebooks, and then get to reading. They had books and time. They know how this goes. I waited, so I could get conferring started. I waited. Redirected. Waited some more. Watched. Redirected again. Waited. Finally I had had enough and I brought in the moves to make them settle. They felt the bit of disappointment and irritation in my voice.
I expected students to be self directed after lunch and recess. A recess filled with drama. A recess so far removed from the moments of our read aloud and our classroom space. What was I thinking? While they should have been able to settle sooner, the move I was asking them to make was too much, right now. They couldn’t make the turn from play outside to quiet thoughtfulness in a book.
This evening I cleaned. I do that when I’m frustrated. Solution? Next steps? My thoughts were going like this: I really don’t want to tell them how to move, how to breathe, how to take every step when they know how it goes.
But, do they really know how this goes? They may know what is expected, but have they ever learned how to settle on their own. You’d think I’d see this sooner, but this is an aha moment. My thoughts and goals, that are down the road a bit, colored my expectations rather than the reality. We need the baby steps, Oops, I forgot.
Sorry guys. I get it. I think. And after writing, I can see a little better.
Thank you Dana, Tara, Betsy, Stacey, Anna and Beth at Two Writing Teachers for this space that helps me reflect and self correct, again and again. Read more slices and share your own here.