My third year out of the classroom, and the experience has been bittersweet. The joys and highs I feel supporting teachers, advocating for their needs in order to better serve students, and simply listening to their experiences is irreplaceable. The bitterness comes from yearning to talk, laugh, and learn with students each day.
When I pull up to a school site and observe the kids socializing in their clusters, playing tag, yelling at each other…it tugs at my heart. As a result, I have now become the teacher you hate. You know the one. The one that walks through the office and notices the student “in trouble” or the child “benched” at recess, and I whisper to them, “It’s going to be ok.” Or I sneak a genuine smile and wink to let them know that they are loved. See, you’re reading this and rolling your eyes. Because for all I know, that kid could have just stabbed another kid with a pencil—for the 11th time. I know, I get it. But I miss them. I miss hearing their voices, both on paper and dancing through the air of classrooms and hallways.
The 40 Book Challenge created by the amazing Donalyn Miller a.k.a. The Book Whisperer changed my life. (Please refer to this post for more details.) She validated my core beliefs and set me free to travel back down the road of treating students as authentic readers, forever readers. Each week we wrote letters back and forth, not simply about the stories they were reading, but their thoughts and questions about life. Sharing our reading lives through letter writing is my favorite memory of classroom teaching. It was, undoubtedly, the most transformative thing I have ever done.
Many of you are emailing asking for the pages sized for a Reader’s Notebook. (Click on the link at the bottom of this post.)
Please help yourself to tweak as needed and share with photos and stories how you are making it your own. I beg you to share.
This instructional coach now lives vicariously through you.
Click on the link below for the download.