So I was setting my yearly professional goal back in August. I was all ready school hadn't even started. I thought about it all summer, what would I commit to? I filled out the google doc and overachiever that I am I even included a clever picture! See below picture. My goal for myself this year was simple really, I would commit to journal every Friday and reflect on something positive. I had the paper ready to give to my principal, check.... and moving on.
Week one was easy, I survived the first few days with my new, untrained, eager firsties. My positive was that I was still smiling. The second week again Friday came and I sat there thinking, and thinking. Then, I sat there, hmm I thought wow I am really tired, I need to get home and rest. So the "reflective" writing became the "urrghh, this is the thing I need to do before I can go". But now it was my goal so I had to.
Much like my first graders I sat there unwilling, unwanting, uninterested and done for the day. "I don't want to"... I could hear the whining rising in my mind. So I sat and wrote something down. It wasn't "bad" writing but I could not call it a "reflective" writing. Actually the "writing itself was messy and I had a hard time reading it back. So I did this for a few weeks every Friday. Looking back at my journal, there was something happening, and not positive. I noticed that now each week the "reflection" was shorter, weaker and less legible.
If I knew this was a positive thing and I knew it would make me a better teacher why could I not give 100% and pour my heart into this? I am not saying it has to be lengthy to be reflective but I literally have a page with 2 sentences... REALLY?
I watched my class one day and I started to see a pattern. My kids were so excited to read but writing is hard so it is not the thing they want to jump into and do for short spurts let alone long stamina writing. I started on a mission to make my firsties readers and writers, knowing one discipline would strengthen the other and visa versa.
So how could I convince them... "Writing Journal?". I told the kids it was Friday and they had been awesome all week, "I have a surprise for you. Today we are going to use a reflection journal. In this journal you can chose any book or story we have read, listened to and you can reflect in your new response journal!"
So I modeled and got mine out. I showed where we would write the title and the author and a good sentence or more if we wanted and were able about the story and why we chose it. Then when writing was done they could get out their crayons and color a picture that matches the part they wrote about. Oh my, they were so thrilled.
#1 the paper was not our regular writing paper, it was small lines and in a spiral notebook so that was like the big kids, also there was a possibility to write a bout a cool book no one else had read yet. they worked hard for about 17 minutes of no walk no talk. I sat there in awe.
How could they just write and have fun, what was different? I had a journal , but I did not want to write in it, how can I be excited like my students? So... I kept thinking for a couple more weeks. I knew in the back of my mind what I needed to do but I was afraid. Yep afraid. The 6 year olds in my room had so much courage to tackle the new, unknown, paper medium and freedom of topics, and I couldn't pick up my pencil.
Sitting at lunch one day another educator was talking with me. "I think you should try blogging", she said.
"hmm...hmm...yeah, no I don't think I can do that." I replied.
"You really should, it can be a great way to reflect and pushing that button to publish will add value to what you do," was her quick reply.
Now, the fact that she blogs and I have read her blog regularly made me think I could not do anything like that. I was worried I would say something incorrectly, have spelling errors, sound like was not intelligent. You think of the negative, panicked thought and that is what I was thinking. I had every excuse to not blog.
The seed was planted though. That Friday I picked up my reflection journal and thought o.k, here we go, get it done. At that moment the seed that was planted had a burst of growth. Maybe I should type today and I could maybe write a post to blog later. So I started typing. Ideas and cool things were floating around my head. I typed. I reread. I typed some more. This went on for a while. I looked at the clock and an hour was gone! WHAT? It was so easy.
So I came home and read what I wrote to my husband and again positive words, "just post it" is what he said. so I did. I wonder every time I write now if the people I work with every day have any clue how scared I was to try this new venture. I wonder if they know I am taking this leap and pushing myself quietly to be brave like my firsties. I wonder if my firsties know that they teach me daily...Oh yeah, I know that answer, they know, because I tell them they teach me something awesome everyday because first graders really are they brightest people on the planet. (Yes, I really do tell them that, and they do not doubt it!)
My post tonight is not why I blog. That was my first post. This post is my new professional goal for this year. Yes, I am editing my original reflection idea. I do not expect to force ideas out weekly but I would like to try to write weekly. my commitment is to post at least twice monthly. I have also realized the reason the journal worked for my kids but not for me was because I needed something new and fresh for myself. I actually look forward to writing each week, it is a rush and I feel like even if no one reads it, I put myself out there. But if one person reads it and has an "aha moment" or a "right on" then it mattered to someone that I shared and pushed the button.
Thank you to the positive people who write weekly and inspire me with "aha moments" and "right ons".