I've mentioned the Western Mass. Writing Project and the Summer Institute in previous blogs. This is my summer home. This is the place where I can get back to myself. It's the gift of time. Time to slow down, reflect, and yes - hang out with awesome teachers.
This is a class, and it is technically "PD", the much-dreaded acronym all teachers know as "Professional Development". PD is usually iffy. It can be great, or it can be a 127 slide powerpoint about a topic you are so not interested in and isn't helpful to your teaching in any way. You just never know. Except that with the WMWP Summer Institute, you DO know. I know. I know, at the start of every summer, that it's going to be great.
It's great because teachers signed up for it. It's great because they want to be here, and are ready and open-minded. It's great because we have the time we need, to talk, process, reflect, and write. We talk about teaching, we share practices, we demonstrate, we work on inquiry questions about our classrooms.
The time we have is a gift. As I write during our second day, "Writing Marathon" day, the feeling I get every summer returned. A whole day to just write? Whatever I want? No one is checking up on me? Like I'm an adult? All day? It's a liberating feeling.
I start by making a list of what I might write about. When I get settled, I start on item #1 - a short story, or maybe an intro to a longer story, about a recent incident with my son. I finish a draft and close it, knowing i will have the time to share it with others and go back to it, to edit and revise. Onto the next item - this week's blog post. All about the gift we are getting - the gift of time.