November 13, 2018
True confession. I had to look up how to spell deceleration. While I knew slowing down in theory, this is not a word or a concept I use often. That’s about to change. I believe I first heard Tom Newkirk use this word in a Heinemann podcast a week or so ago and it’s been living on a scrap of paper in my writing journal since then. I wrote some other words down after it. November. Slowing down to… Building ?
So here’s where I am on November 13. While I wish I had everything in my yearly schedule in place, even as I write that sentence I know it not to be true. Once, perhaps, I had a beautiful schedule, color coded and laminated outside my door. I went down the hall and picked up some kids or perhaps because they were so used to the routine, they came down to my room. We stayed together thirty minutes or so and I sent them back to their class. …and the next year, those same kids were sitting in the cute chairs with the pockets in my cozy room again.
This isn’t a story about that. This is a story about what I do, what I think, how I might help. Last week, I was somewhere in this building, with some student of unknown age and she turned to me and said, What do you do here? Another time last week I was sitting in the principal’s office (don’t those words sound scary?? LOL) and I wondered, does he know what I do here? This very morning, I am sitting in the literacy center and I wonder, do I know what I do here?
Well, sometimes I am not sure what I do, meaning how my actions affect students and educators, parents and para professionals, but I am very certain about my intent. My intention this November 2018 is deceleration. Deceleration.
Deceleration. Slowing down. Slowing down to notice. Slowing down to wait. Slowing down to listen. Slowing down to consider. Slowing down into the long game. I (and the collective we) do not have to have all the ideas today. I do not have to get it all right today. We do not have to (fill in the blank… fix, teach, solve).
So as I come back to this for the third time today I think, can I play the long game? Can I exercise patience? Can I remember that I am here to be a catalyst but also a safe harbor? Can I slow down… decelerate, not to get it perfect only to notice, to listen, to collaborate?
What am I here to do? I’m here to help everyone move forward in literacy and everything related to it. That movement doesn’t have to happen today. I hope it will happen tomorrow.