Reinventing Ourselves

Slice of Life2

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of              Two Writing Teachers for creating this  supportive community.

I’ve read a few posts recently about the importance of space – what it reveals about us as well as how it affects our creativity. Recently I attended a workshop held at a local middle school. The breakout sessions were in various classrooms which gave me the chance to look around and think about the teacher and students who inhabit that space on a daily basis.

As I entered one classroom I first noticed that the desks were arranged in pairs, the middle rows facing forward and the end rows facing inward.

Yes! This is a teacher who values collaboration.

Just as quickly I noticed the rain gutter under the front whiteboard. I always wanted to have one of those!  I scanned the titles and found many familiar friends – Bridge to Terabithia, Wringer, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Stargirl. There were a few nonfiction titles and at least one poetry book, but not much in the way of more contemporary books. The bookshelves, as far as I could tell, did not house a classroom library. I also caught sight of two folders tacked to the front bulletin boards – one filled with blank book order forms and one labeled “No Name.”

Yes! This teacher wants her students to be familiar with good literature. But, how often do the titles change? Do book talks happen in this space? Can students make suggestions?

I did listen to the presentation, but my thoughts were filled with wonderings about this teacher’s space and what I could learn from it. I kept coming back to the word “reinvent.” To me, this space revealed a veteran teacher who is open to new ideas, who is knowledgeable and willing to try some new strategies to reinvent herself and better serve her students. I wanted to talk with her and discuss what else she might try. I think no matter what role we play in life – teacher, writer, friend, mother, spouse – we need to have the courage to try something new from time to time, to “let go” and “welcome in,” to move forward without forgetting the past, to remain fresh and interesting. That is what keeps life interesting.

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10 Responses to Reinventing Ourselves

  1. franmcveigh says:

    Thanks for sharing your thinking and focusing on the “positives” in the classroom. When we know that “Outsiders” is 50 years old, how do we pair more current texts with it so that students are re-enticed back to reading. Even just having books with the new and improved “covers” seems to be a start! 🙂


  2. paulabourque says:

    Noticing the little things that mean a lot, Rose! Our space reflects our values. If we look for intention in the displays, book choices, and design we can begin to appreciate how much thought and planning goes into teaching every single day. This post is a great reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. arjeha says:

    I agree, Rose. We do need to try new things to keep life interesting. It also helps us grow and not become stagnant. How boring life would be if we weren’t willing to experiment with new things.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Rose! Your hook pulled me in, and I wondered how you are, yet again, reinventing yourself these days…Best. MB


  5. Your noticings are impressive. It is important to keep stretching ourselves, just as we stretch our students minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tara Smith says:

    Hmmm…I wonder what I will see through your perceptive eyes should you ever visit my classroom. Sometimes, it’s hard to reinvent a space one has lived and taught in for a long time, but we do need to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am always overwhelmed by teachers who are truly lifelong learners. I meet teacher every day who are one or two years away from retirement and are still leaning, changing, growing and reflecting. I hope I will always to the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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