|at Two Writing Teachers!|
Joy, the first-year teacher, was asking all of the deepest questions I still wrestle with after five years of teaching! Not to mention the fact that they're both English teachers, and I really will be a new English teacher this year in my new ELL position. The authentic, heartfelt dialogue between the two (while the book is made mostly of Jim's letters, Joy's questions and a few of her letters are sprinkled throughout) was inspiring, poignant, and encouraging. I think Husband had to go pick up dinner as I fell into Joy and Jim's world! After all, it is my world...
As I read, the book really made me reflect on my own teaching life: how far I've come, yet how I still feel Joy's questions every day; how needy I still am of a mentor like Jim. Maybe I will find one this year in my new school?
Of course, really I'm lucky because I have LOTS of mentors: all of you, my slicing friends! Over the past year, you have inspired me, encouraged me, and made me feel as if I'm not alone... sometimes without even knowing it! You couldn't come into my room, observe my classes or talk to me. But your words spoke to me. Your ideas called me to stretch myself. Your comments gave me advice or encouragement or just touched a place in my heart that had been yearning for someone to understand.
And it's largely because of all of you that I've finally committed to an idea that's been rattling around in my head for a while: I joined Twitter! Right when I joined, I got a big rush of enthusiasm because I could follow so many of my slicing friends! (In fact, Diana sent me a direct message right away, which I didn't even know how to do but it was really fun!) Posting my first tweet still brought the same sweaty hands and heavy stomach that I had when I wrote my first blog post... but excitement quickly took over because I already "knew" people.
I've only been on for a few days, but I can already see that it's a lot like the slicing community (except waaaay bigger and, um, scarier!): full of enthusiastic, positive teachers who love to share ideas! Several people (they must be the Lindas of Twitter!) reached out to me and helped me find hashtags to follow, which really made me feel welcome. It's still kind of overwhelming (which is why I had put off joining...) but it's also invigorating. Oddly, it's comforting too, because I know that when I need help, I now have a TON of experienced, knowledgeable mentors to ask!
While I still hope to find a mentor in my new building, it's nice to know that I won't be lost if no "Jim" appears. After all, I now have two communities full of them!
* Now that I'm on Twitter, I'm following Jim (@englishcomp), which I think is so cool! Over just the past few days, he's posted several tweets that are as inspiring as the content of his letters in the book!