Slice of Life Tuesday: The Loss Within

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SliceofLifeSwagMarch2016I found out that one of my mentor teachers has passed away. At the age of 53, it’s not fair that such an intelligent mind and driven spirit is no longer with us. Even though I only knew her a short time and only in the context of education workshops, I feel sort of empty inside this week because of all the learning others will miss in the future with her not around. I met her at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project summer institute in 2008. Here’s what Kathleen Tolan taught me: kathleentolan

  • Testing is a genre. Teaching to the test is not acceptable, but helping students to realize that sometimes school reading is a different kind of reading, for a different purpose, and that students can pass a test if they know some key pieces of information.
  • You must have a passion for what you do. Lucy Calkins once told a group, “Passion is powerful.” Kathleen had a passion for teaching and learning. She wanted everyone to do their best always. She was stubborn about it! She put forth great effort in her work, and expected the same from others. When I applied to become a staff developer at TCRWP, she wrote me a long letter about the aspects of the job I was not qualified for. I appreciated her honesty, and my reading workshop teaching is now better because of her advice.
  • Children are the future. She held students on a pedestal. Children can learn to become intelligent thinkers and take part in the world. Allow children to be their best, and even you can learn from them.

Thank you for your time, Kathleen. We will miss your determined drive and work in the world of education.

picture credit: www.heinemann.com

 

SOLSC Day 28: Not What We Wanted

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Slice of Life Small LogoThank you to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Not What We Wanted

Well, Notre Dame lost in the Elite Eight. That’s ok. They almost beat #1 Kentucky. They played tough, earning the respect of the country. They lost by only 2 points. Not what we wanted.

My granddaughter called me earlier. She was “sad.” “Mommy’s watching her show, but I wanna watch my show.” (Mommy in the background: “You watched your shows all day.”) Aw, that’s ok. I told her, “Let Mommy watch her show this time.” She cried, “Nooo!” Not what she wanted.

Sometimes we don’t get what we want. There’s always something else to make up for the loss. I wanted to go to New York today for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Saturday Reunion. I wasn’t able to attend; the schedule just wouldn’t work this spring. Not what I wanted. That’s ok. I got to spend time at home — relaxing, visiting family members in person and via phone, and enjoying my day on Twitter (following the reunion, of course).

To all those TCRWP teachers: send me your notes! 🙂