Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finding New Inspiration and a Challenge for YOU

Tomorrow will be August 1st -- the month school starts... and this "inspired writing teacher" finds herself without a classroom for the first time in five years.  My family made yet another move from our beloved "Aggieland" to "Bear Country," due to my husband's job at Baylor University.  I am now longingly walking through the Back to School supplies, knowing there is no reason to even purchase a box of markers - but they are on SALE and such a good DEAL right now!! 

For anyone who was following me in the early days of this blog, you will remember that my passion was teaching writing to 4th graders. (It actually still is.)  It was difficult, but so rewarding!  I taught 4th grade for 7 years in both self-contained and departmentalized classrooms.  The job was becoming more and more difficult, life was handing our family many challenges, I had a few health issues, and my dear, dear Daddy passed away...  So, I made a change and moved to 2nd grade - a whole different ballgame - also fun and rewarding.  Blogging took the FAR back seat, like outside the car.  Oh, I was still following and "pinning" away, but was not able to write.  Some "Inspired Writing Teacher" I have been.

My Daddy was seriously incredible, and I miss him dearly.
Then came this move, and the obvious need to resign from my job.  I mean, it was time, but it didn't make leaving that empty classroom and turning out the light any easier.  Don't get me wrong.  I know God has other plans, but guess what... He hasn't let me in on them yet.  "So what is to become of this lovely blog?" I have been wondering.

Well, I am enjoying a new "season" of life I realize.  We have a new home which we are loving.  Our daughter just graduated from college, and our son just graduated from high school.  (Expect a sad post coming as he (our baby) leaves for college in August.) Yep, we are about to be "empty nesters."  I have no idea how that happened so quickly. 

Aren't they ADORABLE!!!  Kelsi - Texas A&M 2013, Kyle - Bryan High School 2013
I am applying for jobs, have had a few interviews, but no new job yet.  I wait faithfully, knowing God has a plan and knows what is best. (Did I mention, He hasn't let me in on it yet?)  I am trying to use this time to rejuvenate and refocus.  I am trying to lose the weight I have packed on and heal my body that I have not treated well.  I am spending more quiet time, more time with God.  I'm spending more time writing... Wait, What?  Writing???   Hmmm...

It occurred to me this morning that I have not only taught writing to children these last ten years.  I have also tried to share my passion with the adults in my profession.  One of the things I found so often was teachers who just didn't feel confident teaching Writing.  We all know we teach less of what we don't personally enjoy.  We also know students get excited when we are excited about what we are teaching.  It is the modeling that is missing in many cases. 

"But I can't write."  "But I never liked to write."  "But I don't have anything good to write about."

Do any of these sound familiar?  We've all heard our students say them, and I've heard teachers say them too.  Do we let them get away with not writing?  I HOPE NOT! 

Here comes the FUN part =)
How about I try to "Inspire" YOU, my TEACHER friends for a while?  I don't know if I can do it, but it's worth a try. 

Like I said, tomorrow is August 1st, and we all know school is starting soon.  We will soon be (likely already are) putting so much time into school that we will once again be trying to find "time for ourselves."  I'm going to remind you that you are not very good for anyone if you do not take time for yourself.  I want you to take some time each day, or if that is too much to fathom, every other day.  In addition to other activities you may enjoy, I want you to do some writing.  BREATHE, please :)

Now, we are in this together.  I would never just thrust a challenge at you and call it "inspiration."
We'll take it step by step, one day at a time.

Step 1:  Gather your materials

You'll need something to write on and something to write with. 
So grab one of these:

Used from home or OH SO CHEAP right now!!!
 Or one of these (filled with paper of course):
You can even customize the cover or pick a pretty color.
Or for those of us who want to make this special, (We all know who we are.)
one like these:
Now we're talking ;)  All sizes, styles, and colors - YIPPEE!
Then gather a few of these (or more depending on your level of school supply hoarding collecting):
A small sampling of my collection...

You will probably want to grab one of these:
(If you'd rather have an "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" drink and are over 21, I certainly won't tell. lol )

Find a comfy spot, and WRITE!  About anything.  Really.  Anything.  Do not limit yourself.  Write, Doodle, Draw, Make Lists, just WRITE!

But for those of you that get completely freaked out by open-ended writing, I'll give you some ideas:

*Make a Title page for your new Writer's Notebook - yeah, I talked you into getting one so that's what we're calling it.
*Make a list of reasons it is important to write, or a lists of things to write about in the future
 Brainstorm - that means all answers are written, even if they are never used.
*Write about what excites you about going back to school.
*Make a list of places you visited this summer, or a list of places you would like to visit someday
  (or both)
*Make a list of as many things as you can think of that you are grateful for today. (This is a great starting spot anytime you don't know what to write about.)

If you need more ideas, drop a comment below, and I will help you out.

I hope no one is saying, "Well, she's not talking to me.  I don't TEACH Writing." 
We all know that every student should be writing across the curriculum.  In my opinion, we, the teachers are responsible for modeling this behavior.  You're not getting out of this. :)

No matter if you love to write or you have hated to write.  I want you to take a deep breath and take this one day at a time.  By the time you go to school, you will be able to share your own Writer's Notebook you started this summer.  Your kiddos will be IMPRESSED

Who knows?  Maybe you will teach INSPIRE one of your students to be as excited about writing as this dear former student of mine was:
Happy Writing!!

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