Queensbury High School
Two weeks ago, straight from work on the heels of a very challenging class and without being able to see my work-by-night husband or my two school aged kids, I rushed onto the southbound ramp of the Northway at Queensbury. After two weeks of multiple open houses—my own, my children’s—meetings, new school year paperwork, and appointments, I was wiped both mentally and physically. I was running out of fuel after only two weeks of classes. To top it all off, Mother Nature was threatening to unleash a temper tantrum of thunder, lightening and down pour.
Any teacher can relate to the power of the new school year. It drains you to the core. Like a fire extinguisher, the onslaught of formalities puts out any flame of excitement for teaching. Yet, for any of you who have experienced a NWP Summer Institute, or any NWP professional development opportunity, you can attest to the power of unscripted, face-to-face interactions with like-minded colleagues. Barrelling down the northway that day, I was headed to meet with my summer institute cohort for the first time since July; I was about to rekindle my teaching fire.
As the chatter of reconnections faded, giving way to the click-click-click of laptop keyboards and the furious scratching of pen to paper, I took a deep breath and let the writing calm me. We wrote to escape for a bit, we wrote to lay aside the overwhelm, we wrote to detox from the back-to-school conformity. We wrote because writing really is the best, free therapy I know of.
Sharing turned to professional collaboration as we reignited the ardor for teaching that had been lit during the summer institute—a fire that, for many, had become threatened by the strong wind of public education’s formalities, busy schedules and negative interactions with those who just don’t get it. During our two hours of time, we collaborated and solved problems. We planned and we generated ideas for good teaching. We laughed, and we offered support.
Sometimes, it just takes a little writing to revive that excited teacher glow.