Sunday, March 1, 2015

Braving the cold

Day 1 of 31 of the March Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!
Fluffy, feathery snowflakes drift gently through the murky Ohio sky, settling themselves onto windswept drifts and old heaps of shoveled snow.
Do you see the falling flakes? Why is it so hard to capture them in a picture?
In December, the sight of these downy dancers twirling in the air makes me want to run outside, spread my arms wide, and stick my tongue out. But in March, the same sight just makes me want to hunker down and hide. Especially this March.

This school year, there have been lots of reasons to hunker down and hide. Betrayal of my band family by my once-beloved university, tough classes, more students with unique issues to problem-solve, a vast increase in new students to assess and place... and of course, a bigger-than-ever gauntlet of standardized tests with old and new ways to torture my sweet students.

Oh, and there's also that small human growing inside me, bringing plenty of cuteness and joy but also plenty of worries, challenges, and her own whole to-do list.

So it would be easy to hunker down and hide, easy to make excuses, easy to decide not to write. And often, I have. My Tuesdays have been too empty of writing and too full of hunkering down. When I thought ahead to March this year, I felt too much apprehension and not enough excitement.

But being a writer is not only central to my identity, but essential to my teaching. Lately, I've been feeling lost trying to teach writing without living it. I've known I need to get my writer self back.

And as March got closer, special memories of the past three Marches drifted into my mind:

  • Joy that every day would carry the excitement of Tuesday connections: dipping into digital friends' lives, being inspired by their thoughts, and being encouraged by their comments. 
  • Thinking like a writer: noticing the small moments, carefully crafting ideas into words, trying to stretch and experiment.
  • Finding the courage to share my blog with "real-life" friends and family members, and discovering that they were just as supportive and excited about my writing as my blogging friends.
  • Inviting students, friends, colleagues, and even my mom to join me in a month of reflection, connections, challenge, celebration, community and growth.
It's time to brave the cold and step back into the world. I can't wait to see what this March will bring!


  1. I'm sure glad you decided to participate this year. Looking forward to reading all of your posts this month!

  2. So glad we came back together!

  3. I really connect to how you describe the SoL challenge: "Inviting students, friends, colleagues, and even my mom to join me in a month of reflection, connections, challenge, celebration, community and growth." I agree - these are at the heart of the experience. Thank you for sharing it so poignantly. The writing should help alleviate some of the worries!

  4. The next snow (hope it's not this year) will have me thinking downy dancers as they twirl their way to the ground. Love the image this creates! I would have been so sad it you hadn't returned. You are a writer and you need to unleash your words to the world. So glad to see you are here.

  5. It's been a long time since I've read your words. It's like a visit with a long-time, well-missed friend. Congratulations on your new little one. I'm looking forward to walking through March with you.
    Happy writing,

  6. "Noticing the small moments" that is exactly why I'm doing this again!

  7. I love how you describe the way your feeling change about winter and snow from December to March. I'm feeling the same way in Wisconsin! I'm glad you decided to participate this year!

  8. I'm so glad you didn't decide to skip, Jen! Glad to have you and the little human you're growing back for this month of writing goodness.

  9. So happy to have heard from you, Jennifer, & now to see you here. I'm glad you decided to return, & look forward to hearing all about your classes and that new one that you're getting ready for-so, so exciting!

  10. I am so glad that you decided to participate this year! I absolutely love reading your post about your struggles to not hunker down this year. I have really felt that same way. To read that someone has felt the same way this year helps bring peace.

    I really related to your line of needing writing in our daily lives to help us become better writing teachers.

    I am looking forward to more of your posts this March!

  11. I love the way you juxtaposed the snowy weather with life and your feelings flow like the snowflakes in the air to the ground. As usual I read your writing as a reader to an author-- for you are an author in every sense of the written word. Careful diction, strong, vivid words, and deep emotion. Can't wait to read and write with such an good author for a month.

  12. I am so glad to be reading your words again!


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