This week I’ve been doing less reading and more revising and writing. Just adding here and deleting there. I think the way I’ve set up the chapters I have so far are good but there is still more developing I need to do.
Having done so much research about my topic along with reading pieces that talk about my topic, has been really helpful. I admire the way these authors have set up their stories and the way their stories flow through is very impressive. I enjoyed reading the dialogues in their stories, like I normally do when I read fiction, and hope my novel comes out as engaging as theirs. One of the main goals I have for my novel is to actually have it published so reading published work has been an inspiration when developing my novel. As I revise, I’ve tried to put myself in my readers’ shoes and I’ve tried to analyze and see if what I think I am saying is truly what I am showing in my story. Not every part of the process so far has been fun but all has been helpful to what I have so far for my project. The readings I’ve enjoyed the most thus far has been reading the creative work, I’ve been engaged and even laughed at times with certain lines of the stories and I’m hopeful my reader will feel the same way once my novel is done and one day published.
As I continue trucking on towards November 3rd and my next meeting with my group, I keep plugging away at my lit review. As many of you know, it isn't glamorous work. I've been trying to imagine an appropriate soundtrack that could play in the background like an 80's movie where the hero trains for a boxing match. Unfortunately, reading off a computer screen isn't too exciting.
Instead of trying to find clever ways to describe scrolling on a trackpad, I wanted to take a moment to discuss how this masters program has impacted me professionally.
When I started the program last September, I immediately put a lot of what we were learning into practice. How I commented on student papers, how I approached individuals students, even my expectations of myself; all of it was changed.
I started challenging the ideas in the paper, not just the grammar. I stopped trying to shoehorn every student into the same expectations and started setting realistic goals that I thought each student could achieve. I started to view myself as a writer who was helping younger writers find themselves.
I was concerned when I found out that I would have another teacher in the room to provide support for struggling students this year. I've never been too confident with my peers, often following what they plan and defaulting to them. Now I'm much more confident and my co-teacher has extremely positive feedback about how I run the class.
The biggest indication that the masters program has had a positive impact on my teaching came today at a workshop. My district has adopted Lucy Calkins' Writer's Workshop. Even though it only goes up through grade 8, my administrators feel that it can be adapted for my 9th graders who perform at lower levels. As we started getting in depth with the program and examining how we will implement each unit, my co-teacher turned to me and said, "You already do all this."
This is the start of my thirteenth year teaching. I honestly don't know what I was doing for the first ten years or so. This program is definitely helping me become a better teacher and it ranks right up there among one of best decisions.