I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my purpose lately.
In September, my nest emptied. I miss my kids, but anyone who knows me well knows that I am crazy about my husband. We have an awful lot of fun together, and life feels much like it did when we first started dating again. I also love my work and the people that I get to do it with. Who gets to say that? I know. I’m more than a bit lucky there. The fact is that (knock wood) the last few years have been especially rewarding personally and professionally, and as I did my yearly calendar audit, I found myself reliving many experiences worth repeating. There were few items in my NEVER AGAIN list this year, and while some might chalk that up to fate, I know that this reality is the result of becoming ruthlessly honest with myself about the people and the places and the work that serves me well. I’ve walked away from a lot over the years, and that was painful, but that was productive. And now, I’m reaping the rewards.
This realization is helping me greet this brand new year with great intention. It’s true–I’m starting a whole new chapter of my life right now, all. The kids are grown, I’ve come into my own, and I have a ton to be grateful for. The fact is that I can make whatever kind of difference I want to in this field that I’ve given so much of my life to. And I’m going to be fifty soon. 5-0.
[One quick aside: I wish someone had told me when I was 27 that 47 is so much better than 27. If you’re twenty–anything right now, I’m telling you–it gets better, not worse. For real.]
Anyway–this is my twenty fifth year in the field and my fifteenth year facilitating professional learning full time. I’ve done a lot of living inside of this profession, and I’ve learned a bunch. I know where I’m going and what kind of influence I want to have as I start the next leg of this journey, too.
I’d like to share that with all of you who keep up with me here….and there….because it’s going to change what I share and how I share it. It’s going to change my work a little, too.
I want to make writing teachers excited to unlock the door to their classrooms each day. In fact, I want to make them want to teach writing as much as they want to plan their next vacations. Most importantly, I want all of the teachers that I support to know that they absolutely CAN do this hard work, and that they can do it really well.
I refuse to the muddy the water, over-complicate the work, and make the teaching of writing such an elite sport that few have the confidence to do it consistently, let alone claim their right to it.
I want everyone to own and shape this work and give it back to the field in ways we didn’t anticipate but deeply appreciate. I want everyone to love teaching writing. Hard.
I don’t care where your certification came from, how many awards you won (or worse, how many your colleague won that you were overlooked for). I don’t care which school you teach in, which curriculum you use, which conferences you attended this year, who you’re connected to on social, whether or not your have a kajillion followers, or whether or not you grew up loving to read and write yourself.
I want to help you fall in love with teaching writing, and I want to do that by listening to you, talking shop, and giving away as much as I can.
I want to be the kind of colleague that I needed when I was trying to teach writing well and taking big risks and failing hard.
I want to be someone who welcomes teachers into this field and makes it one that they want to give their lives to.
We don’t have time to waste, all.
The fact is that no one NEEDS to teach anymore. There are infinite opportunities out there, and unless this work is work that people really WANT to do, they won’t. We need to make this work accessible and enjoyable.
I want to leave this field better for having me in it, and I want to leave an army of joyful, talented, creative, and committed teachers in my wake.
That’s my plan, and in this new year, you’re going to see me working it hard here….and everywhere else on and offline, too.
Look forward to shorter posts, tangible strategies, and peeks into my own work on the ground. I plan to share the good, the bad, and the ugly (including live video which scares the pants off of me). I also plan to listen when you tell me something that I need to hear or share problems that I’m not quite sure how to solve. I’m expanding my services and the entry points into all of the new conversations I want to start. I’ll be giving even more away and shining bright, bright lights on those whose work that I admire, too. All of them are people who are walking this path uphill both ways in the snow every single day, just like me. Like you.
I think it’s time to start lifting writing teachers up by removing all of the things that are weighing them down.
Happy new year, friends, and buckle up. I’m shifting gears around here.
Angela, I enjoyed reading your blog post.
Thanks for dropping by, Tim!