This week I attended The Lead Learners Summit Institute, formerly known as All Write. This conference, set in the middle of cornfields, always jumpstarts my thinking for the coming school year...even if it is the month of June.
Todd Nesloney was the keynote speaker, and his quote, "You cannot teach the mind if you have not reached the heart" is one that will stick with me for a long time.
I was also able to hear Stephanie Harvey talk about comprehension and Gravity Goldberg talk about teacher decision-making and reading notebooks. Katherine Sokowloski talked about the importance of expanding our audiences for students. Colby Sharp shared his top 2018 books so far, and Christy Rush-Levine opened my eyes about social justice book clubs.
It was two days of learning, thinking, and spending time with great educators.
Tonight as I sit out on my porch and look at an old trailer my husband is restoring, I can't help but reflect.
This past school year was a difficult one for me. By the end of May, I felt more than exhausted; I felt defeated.
In a way, I felt much like this trailer. My drive and motivation to teach had been stripped down to the bare minimum, and all that was left was the frame -- rust and all.
Leaving Summer Institute with my overloaded brain and a four and half hour drive ahead of me, I began to process the learning which had taken place over the past two days. I began to think about the changes I wanted to make, the books I wanted to purchase, and the new ideas I wanted to try. The excitement of teaching began to restore itself.
As I take a second look at that trailer, I see it's potential with a little restoration. The frame is sturdy, and it stands solid on two new wheels. With new side boards and a new hitch, this trailer can be (somewhat) functional once again.
This past year may have left me with nothing but a rusted frame, but this old frame still has potential.
Summer learning inflates my flat tires with air. Surrounding myself with educators who share their ideas becomes my new side boards. Spending time in professional books hitches me to new ways of thinking and improving my teaching.
Tonight, I begin to feel like I can be functional once again, just like this old trailer.
This is teacher restoration.