I have often felt affection for the two-toed sloth and gravitate to their modest unharried expressions of serenity. The wonderful patience and steady determination it must take these gentle creatures to reach a goal makes me wonder if their minds wander while limbs move in puposeful motion. While I don’t share their demeanor, I do sometimes feel like a slow learner. It takes me time to bring my swirling thoughts to ground and sort them into comprehensible congnition.
I’ve always loved writing, but never dedicated serious time to the craft until a few years ago, my dear friend, Amanda Potts , raised this important question with English Department Heads.
“We are teachers of writing, yet how many of us actually engage regularly in the practice of writing? How many of us would call ourselves writers?”
Amanda and I have talked extensively on this issue and her insight on this cannot be understated. This truth became even more evident when we attended a three day conference with Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher in the summer of 2018 as they launched their book 180 Days: the Quest to Engage and Empower Students. We returned fromm the conference significantly changed as readers, as writers, as teachers.
Amanda and Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher showed me that becoming a teacher of writing means writing and publishing and giving and taking feedback. I started to write with them and took feedback from them revising my work with their suggestions and they more readily accepted it from me. We became better together.
So when Amanda introduced me to the Two Writing Teachers Blog, I knew I should join and begin a writing practice. I started the school year and wrote a “slice of life” each Tuesday, and then eventually committed to this month of March – 31 days of writing.
Despite my adherence to this writing promise, I admit to feeling like I’m a slow learner. My moments of inspiration have waxed and wained, yet changes have emerged, sprouting out from cracks, but not quite ready for full expression. I am learning more about ways to comment and give feedback and I am learning to broaden the range of my writing from reading the posts of others.
This morning, I quickly made a list of writing moves to make:
- write in the third person
- make lists
- questions and answers
- write from the voice of an object
Writing for #SOL has required patience and steady determination always reaching for a goal just beyond me, mind and limbs in puposeful motion. So much can be learned from the sloth, but even more from a writing community.