Drifting Away

As I change my focus from anything/everything education  to creating a writing studio, I find myself making incremental shifts in habits. For example:

  • I haven’t tweeted since, oh let me see: December 10. I am thinking about closing my Twitter account all together, but I am still mulling that one over.
  • I’m subscribing more and more to blogs like this. And I find myself clicking “unsubscribe” more and more to education blogs I used to read daily.
  • Each morning I write–something. Not the full Pages suggestion set by Julia Cameron, but words on paper, or laptop, or an iPad. Something.

These days I want to talk less and “do” more. For a while at least, I plan to use a series of writing prompts, so the topics here will vary. I feel like playing with words, telling some stories.

And now, I am taking my notebook to bed. Because you never know when it might come in handy.

Yet not waiting for inspiration. Writing every day. Writing practices.


All to Myself

Living downtown has a rhythm. My husband and I walk to the coffee shop, the butcher, and church. We sit on our front porch and visit with neighbors. And we take our early morning runs around town, being sure to finish up on Caroline Street to check out the latest window displays.

I also find downtown a perfect place for an introvert. Working from home most days means I can go hours without talking to anyone. Not that I mind. Actually, spending time with myself is pleasant.

Before you assume some mental disorder, let me assure you. I do love people. On my walks around town, I enjoy running into friends. Many weekends, we meet up with others for dinner. And we try to make monthly trips to the “big city” (either north or south) for concerts and plays.

But given a choice between spending time curled up on my sofa reading or attending a loud party, well, I usually lean toward the sofa. So during the week when I realize that I have spent four or five hours working on something, and I’ve yet to speak a word, I usually put on my coat and head out the door.

The other day, I walked down to Sammy T’s for lunch. I had picked up a few books at Riverby, so I had my head down in one of them. As I ate a lovely squash salad, I heard words from a conversation about a new store drift in and out. I took bites of lunch and gazed up to watch the waiter and then a mother entertaining a toddler in the booth next to me.

Alone but not alone.

Fredericksburg, small but not too small, is filled with places for people like me. I have wonderful extended conversations with Purna Shrestha from Here and Beyond while I pick up a take-out lunch. Checking in with the butcher, I order our Christmas turkey. Later, the experts at Kybecca fill me in on which wine tastes most like the Shiraz I had at a restaurant last week.

Walking home, I bump into Carl and his tiny terrier, out for their daily stroll. We chat for a few moments about house decorations and the traffic.

And then I’m home again, my anxious Golden Retriever waiting for me at the front door.

We settle in for an afternoon of reading and writing–and silence. Lovely.

Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.  ~Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now

Be Willing to Change the Game

About a year ago, I pasted a quote into Evernote by Chris Lehmann (probably from Educon 2011):

If we want our students to grow, we must do that ourselves. This weekend we believe differently. All of us have a stake in the game. Solutions must include us (and our students). We cannot solve problems by doing things TO students.

This morning, as I bumped into the quote again, I was reminded of a teacher I met this past weekend. We were discussing change and what kind of “change agents” we want to be. He paused, turned his head slightly, eyes widening: “I just realized,” he said. “I ask my students to take risks all the time….and yet I don’t put myself out there at all.”

He was referring to sharing and working online, being willing to reach out to others to learn and grow. He’d been satisfied, thus far, to be the director who told his students what to do without doing the work himself. He looked as if he had walked into a strange, new place with no idea how he had arrived.

I smiled. I’ve seen that look before. And it can be both scary and exciting.

During our session, this teacher had shared some amazing insights, and I was eager to find his space place online to learn more.

“I don’t have a space online,” he’d said. “But I guess that needs to change.”

We must model the kind of learning we want from our students. And we must also be willing to learn from them as they explore their interests and passions.

First, we must believe in the change. And then we live the belief.

This seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?



edcampISVA rocked

Today was magic. I am sitting on my couch, feet up, and fire going. The rest of the world is heading down to the Fredericksburg Christmas Parade, but I am relaxing, basking in the good feelings of today.

A group of 30 independent school teachers from around the state gathered at Fredericksburg Academy for our first edcamp. And it was everything I’d hoped for–and more.

Following edcamp protocol, we gathered, figured out what we wanted to talk about, and started the day. I’d suggested this a few months ago after reading about the success of other edcamps, wanting to experience the kind of professional development that is driven by the interests and needs of a community.

I’m selfish. I love sharing and learning with like-minded folks (though push back is always welcome,too). In these intimate settings, conversations happen. Relationships form. Friendships develop.

Though I was a little worried about the details (what if we don’t have enough food? will people get what they need? do we have enough post-it notes?), I shouldn’t have been. For when passionate people come together and have the chance to share ideas, magic happens.

Thanks to a great team of organizers, we pulled this off. Giving up a Saturday for a chance to meet so many creative, interesting, caring teachers was SO worth it. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.