Reflecting on the Journey #sol19
January 29, 2019
When you choose a little word for the year, it seems to follow you around everywhere much like that idea in What Do You Do With An Idea? This morning that idea of reflection came to me by way of Lucy Calkins’ reflection of her own journey to leadership. While I am in no way likening my journey to Lucy Calkins’, many might see a parallel between their own journeys as educators and the ideas, vision, and trials that Lucy speaks of during this podcast.
One of the things that struck me is that early in her journey, Donald Murray asks a young teacher, Lucy, to write her Truth with a capital T, not the truth with a small t. Truth with a capital T. That hit home. What is my Truth with a capital T? Is that about how I arrived here at this place? Perhaps. Is it about what I hold dear? Possibly. There are a lot of essays written about this idea of Truth v. truth. For me, it’s not about facts. It’s about a journey. It’s not about all the stops, but the ones that mattered. It’s not about what I did so much as it is about the way it made me feel.
That story is for another day, I think. Today I am thinking about how this whole idea of reflection started following me around. What
I’ve realized I’m realizing about myself as an educator in this moment that I hadn’t fully considered before. This reminds me of that idea, what we carry. So here in small part is what I carry.
I carry a lonely childhood filled mostly with adult thinking and a lot of books. Books about everything. The St. Louis library was a treasure trove of books and art. Once a teacher punished me for helping a student next to me understand what to do next (read talking in class) by having me stay in for a month of recesses reading SRA stories and answering the questions. I read all of them…
I carry around a sense of wonder for all things in the natural world and new learning from a mother who I think was still learning things as she left this earth. She believed that there was always something to observe and always a book to read about that.
I carry the experiences of so many students who thought learning to read was a magic that they didn’t have. Starting that journey with them step by step, small triumph by small triumph, that still keeps me going.
I carry all the teachers who just needed someone to talk through their concern with them, not solve. The solutions were mostly theirs and I learned so much from their observing, their thinking, their experiences.
I carry my friend who took me to Teachers’ College for the first time and dreamed of how we could be better coaches. I also carry all of the people I have met in real life and virtually through all of those reunions. They fill my head with hope and ideas and determination.
I carry a kernel of that second grader I was. What she longed to know. What she felt and thought. School wasn’t the place I learned, home was and so I also carry my motherhood. I think about how we saw ourselves as teachers for our own children. How our interests and their interests became the foundations for learning together. So I also carry a respect for that learning. The true knowledge that every parent is their own child’s primary teacher.
I carry more untapped, unspoken things that will occur to me during the day today or perhaps as I drive home or fall asleep. Reflection is an amazing thing. It spurs us on to our new best selves.