There are Thirty Two

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March SOL Challenge #13

Last night I shared with our Board of Education at their monthly meeting that 32 of our staff members are participating in the Slice of Life March Challenge.  I talked about the need, the pull, the urgency we in this group realize in our writing.  That it is without a doubt the most important thing a teacher of writing must do.  To write.  Our community includes 2 principals, a Dean and a Business Manager….yes!  A Business Manager. We have also adopted a fellow writer “frolleague” from Denver as one of our own.  I felt so proud.

I have been paying close attention to Stacey’s daily “Be Inspired” section on the TWT blog this month.  I was particularly excited today as it features one of those 32 educators in my district:  Brighid “Sneezy Knees” Kitchen.  Brighid’s writing deserves to be spotlighted, so I surely wasn’t surprised to see that Stacey highlighted her today.  I am amazed on a daily basis when I read the writing of my fellow colleagues.  The stories they tell.  The craft they use to convey their story.

Katie shared her writing life as a young child in school.  The teacher who showed her the power she had within to tell her story through writing.  Angela shared a piece of her daughter’s writing that made everyone in her family laugh.  Writing is valued in her home.  Dana shared her fears about never finding the perfect home for her girls to grow up in.  We shared in her excitement when the perfect house was found.  Michelle shared her pride as a mother when her son decided he should shave his head to show unity and support for his friend who lost his brother to cancer.  We reveled in her success.  Susan shared her life growing up surrounded by music and why that has been so important in her life.  Many of us could connect to her story.  Brighid shared her hilarious perspective on the day she cut her son’s hair.  We appreciated the humor, as well as the poignant moments in her story.

The list goes on and on and on.   Countless mother’s who struggle with balancing home and career.  The love they have for their children and for their students is unparalleled.  They share their inner most thinking with us.  They grapple with these heart wrenching situations and they write to figure things out.  We are allowed to look in.  We comment and encourage.  We hug.  And, we write with them.  Their stories become our stories.  One fellow slicer said, “Whenever I see a teacher in the hallway that I know is slicing it’s like I see all of their stories hovering over their head.”  We know each other on a human level now.  We are more than that teacher who teaches down the hall or across town from me.  We are connected.

In addition to the mothers, we hear from the daughters, the educators, the wives, the sisters, the friends.  We write it down so we can know what we think and what we believe.  We learn that we think and believe very much like that of our colleagues.  People we have worked with for many years.  We have the same struggles.  The same celebrations.  The same silly moments.  The same hopes and dreams.   Thirty two writers.  A melting pot of thirty two stories to tell.

We are planning a writing celebration this coming April.  The members of our Board of Education were beaming as I spoke to them about our resident authors.  As I spoke I looked out into the audience and met the eyes of my fellow writers.  Acknowledging the importance.  Feeling validated.  Yes, we will celebrate our 32 writers.  I feel so proud to belong to this group.  We are forever changed.

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23 thoughts on “There are Thirty Two

  1. I love the idea of seeing everyone’s stories above their head. That is so true! What a nice slice about our slicing “frolleauges” as that is what I think we are all now- through slicing we are building connections. And learning and growing and and and…

  2. Oh, you are inspiring me to expand this enterprise. I’m a lone wolf right now, but I love the idea of inviting my frolleagues to join me next year in this endeavor! How marvelous to have the support of your Board, too!

  3. This is such a great piece! I feel so honored every day to be in such amazing writing company- this challenge has changed me, as a writer, and as a person! Thank you for sharing our story to the blogging world!

  4. Carrie, I am REALLY enjoying slicing this year. I like the picture you painted in my head when you mentioned seeing a fellow slicer in the hall and seeing all of their writing above their heads. This is SO TRUE! I think this has bonded us and boosted our morale. When I read other peoples’ writing or people comment on mine, it feels so good. I honestly work with the best people. I truly love hearing their stories and seeing their writing!!

  5. Great commentary on the experience Carrie. I love the buzz in the building of people discussing slices and their own struggles and triumphs of the process. I was hesitant to participate, but am enjoying every moment of slicing!

  6. It sounds like you have created a bonded community. What a blessing to write together, enjoy life together and build strong friendships together. My husband is on the school board in our community and these presentations are his favorite part of the meetings.

  7. Carrie- It took my breath away to read that you have 32 educators slicing. The thought of so many people sharing snippets from their lives every day is so heartwarming. It sounds like you are getting to know each other a little better each day. It takes real strength in yourselves and trust in each other to transition from the teacher or administrator in charge to the learner in process. Congratulations to you all! You are stellar examples of educators at their best!

  8. If I had to lift just one line from your writing, it would be “We are allowed to look in.” It made me stop and pause. When a writer makes a piece public, for others to see, that writer is vulnerable. But I’ve learned in just 2 short weeks that that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The more I write, the less unsettling that is. There is also a feeling of empowerment when I choose what to “allow” the reader to see. And then there’s the addictive feedback!

    1. Carrie – this reflective piece is so inspiring. Exactly what I needed during my writers funk these past few days. We should be celebrated for committing to this challenge 🙂 I love how it has made me rethink how I approach teaching my students.

      Kathy – you read my mind. I did not want to Slice because I did not want to become vulnerable. So happy I changed my mind. Thank you for taking the journey as well.

  9. Thank you, Carrie. I’m blushing and smiling and so very grateful that you and Dana spearheaded this writing movement. No one had any idea what would transpire when we initially jumped into this challenge… vulnerable, hesitant…I’ll never forget that first weekend when we were all giddy and commenting late into the night, going back and forth with the emails. What an amazing experience it has been and continues to be for us all. I am forever changed as an educator, writer, and person. I love our community; what it represents and how the lessons we learn transfer into building encouraging writing communities for our students. Feelin the love!

  10. How did I miss the line of seeing stories over our heads? Love it. I’m obsessed with slicing. I mean OB-Sessed! I can’t get enough. My only regret is that I didn’t start doing it earlier.

    A melting pot of thirty two stories to tell.–What a great little bond we all have now

  11. “Whenever I see a teacher in the hallway that I know is slicing it’s like I see all of their stories hovering over their head.”
    I can’t tell you how much I love his line – so, so true.

  12. Thank you for sharing our writing life. It has connected us all in a way we would not have seen previous. We have put our most vulnerable self out for all to see and comment on. What a fabulous group of support. I feel like we have reintroduced ourselves through our writing.

  13. Just got the chills reading that slice. It is absolutely incredible and will forever change the lives of both your adult and student writers. Also loved the title. Your titles are really good!!! 🙂

  14. I think you summed it up so nicely, “We have the same struggles. The same celebrations. The same silly moments. The same hopes and dreams. Thirty two writers. A melting pot of thirty two stories to tell.” What a fun and inspiring activity that helps you grow. I am so grateful that you encouraged me to do this. Thanks Carrie!

  15. Fantastic Slice. I thought about doing this with all of you last year, but was worried and scared. Now that I am slicing with all of you, I know just how welcoming and understanding the whole community is. Thanks for making this an awesome endeavor for me, and thanks for sharing this slice.

  16. “The most important thing a teacher of writing can do.” I didn’t want to be presented with that challenge and NOT take the opportunity! I now know how true that is. I’m glad to have experienced this along with feeling so connected to others and their writing. It’s consuming, but in such a good way for all of the right reasons.

  17. Said so well Carrie! I’m glad I (reluctantly) decided to slice. I figured I didn’t have time. But somehow you make time because it is important, not only to become better at teaching writing, but for the comraderie it brings. Candy crush doesn’t have those advantages.

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