For the second summer week in a row I feel joy in the community of teachers. This sense of comfort is easy to find during the school year — pop into a teacher’s classroom for advice or participate in a brainstorming session. But in the summer, teachers come together for the love of teaching.
Last week I attended the July Reading Institute at Columbia’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP). An army of 1,200 strong listened to the latest research, laughed with keynote speaker Jacqueline Woodson and shared ideas to take back tot he classroom. The generosity of spirit was invigorating. Some of us were only a couple of days removed from the classroom but we were all equally eager to engage. I left New York with new friends and the promise of sharing ideas across the transom.
Today I begin the Teachers Write summer project. Authors Kate Messner, Jo Knowles and Gae Polisner host over a thousand teachers, challenging us to write every day. Over the course of several weeks, a couple dozen guest authors will provide prompts, comments and encouragement. Equally important, the community of writers will share and provide support. I am excited for the challenge and hope to find my writing voice over the next several weeks. I plan to write for writing’s sake…to see where the words take me. Unlike most of my writing, this summer work is not audience-driven or lesson-based.
The slower days of summer offer the community of teachers a chance to truly shine. When we are not bound by classrooms or schedules, we teachers can reenergize. But I marvel at the flow of creativity that these warm, supposedly lazy days bring out!