Each day in March, I’m participating in the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. You can visit their site here. This is my slice for Day 28.
The lessons and insights I absorb from my PLN colleagues come primarily through a dance between Twitter, and the blogosphere. Over the course of days and weeks, I flit back and forth between periods of intensity following my Twitter feed, engaging in all sorts of educational chats; or drinking deeply of the reflections penned in the blogs I have been led to. Each of these activities is thought provoking, and shapes me as an teacher. Not all of the discussions are educational. Not all of the writings deal with pedagogy. The conversations and the readings are multi-faceted, just as the people in my PLN are. We delve into parenting, writing, running, and issues of social justice. We bandy about ideas and queries. We poke and jab about sports and rivalries. And we occasionally entertain some foolishness. It is all some form of learning.
Throughout this quest for understanding, I’ve encountered so many writers I that admire. I’ve signed up to follow dozens of blogs. Each with different styles. Unique voices. Varied perspectives.
I’ve also run across many blog pieces that were co-authored. The idea of collaborating with other members of my PLN intrigued me, but it also unnerved me. I see how difficult it can be when my students get paired together. I’ve witnessed each of my daughters get saddled with project partners who shirked their part of the work.
I also know myself. There is a part of me that likes to control the direction of a group. I figure that I might have an easier time working with me, than others would.
But I want to grow as a writer, and as a person, so I took the plunge. I am awed by the clever, brilliant minds of many fellow bloggers from my PLN, including those at #TeachersWrite, #sol15, or #spiritualjourneys, that there are too many to list. Over the past couple months, I’ve begun collaborating on various writing projects. I pilfered ideas or lines from Maggie Bolado, Kory Graham, Kendra Limback, and dozens of titles from my Slice of Life colleagues on March 24th. I’ve written with my student teacher, and my students. I had the pleasure of co-authoring blog posts with Dr. Kim Parker, and Kendra Limback. Currently, I have works in various stages with Jen Houlette, Tamara Letter, and Jon Harper. And I’ve extended an invitation to collaborate to several others.
To be honest, I am finding it to be a little awkward initially. We brainstorm ideas together, but II don’t want to step on toes. I don’t want to assert my voice to the point where I drown out theirs. I want to restrain my impulsive nature, so I can really listen first. I also want to acknowledge that there are many paths to get to our creative destination.
But this collaborative journey is an exhilarating one. I’m getting to know colleagues on a deeper level. I’m hoping to see the world through their own unique lens, and discover how they focus that lens, and where they choose to direct it. I want to ask more questions, and listen more attentively. I want to invite feedback, and welcome critique. My voice may be unique, but it can adapt, grow, deepen, and broaden.
Thank you to all who give their time to read any of my posts. Thank you to those who offer encouragement, critique, or both. Thank you to those who write along with me. Since I don’t recall anyone validating my writing until I was in graduate school, I didn’t grow up seeing myself as a writer. In fact, writing seemed more of a “school thing” that I was happy to have been done with, as a thing of the past. But an inner voice kept gnawing at me. It had to get out. It had to be shared. You have all welcomed my voice, helping me grow, and accept that on some level, it’s all write with me.
I am a writer.