As I sit here at my dining room table, wrapping my mind around all I’ve recently learned and those tasks left to complete before the start of another week is upon me, I find my thoughts drifting in, around, out and through the influence the National Writing Project has had on my life. So many of the great conversations I’ve had – both personal and private ones as well as professional and thought-provoking – have taken place with teachers and colleagues who have now become friends.
Just last week, I sat through two evenings of interviews for the upcoming Invitational Summer Institute for the LMWP, one of the over 200 local writing project sites. As we all sat, talked, and sipped our steaming lattes, I was again transported into a time and space where learning isn’t an assignment given to students, but a mindset held by a community of learners.
Hearing the practices and theories these educators brought to the table, listening to them give voice to the deep-seated concerns they have for their students I was reminded of the ways in which this organization not only provides a higher quality, on-going form of professional development, but also a place for these dedicated individuals to find an intellectual home.
In hearing their questions and interests, there were countless times when I had to write down a thought or recommendation to share – and nearly every time the resource that came to mind was in someway connected to the NWP. The people I’ve met and places to which I’ve traveled have opened my eyes to the fact that so many of our colleagues have invaluable information to share. And it’s my personal belief that the shared experience of reading, writing and learning throughout the course of a summer, that bonds writing project people together in a way that is hard to explain to a school staff during 3 solid days of dreaded PD at the beginning or end of an academic year.
At this point, six years after having experienced my first writing project event, it’s hard to distinguish the personal and professional lines. Sure, these individuals are amazing teachers from across the country, but they’ve also become friends. We share the milestones of our life with one another – through experience, through pictures, songs, poetry…and writing. Yesterday’s writing group that began with a handful of 20-somethings meeting at coffee houses or quaint bars to read and write has become today’s playdate complete with peanut butter sandwiches and discussion about the best books (both picture and adult).
It’s hard for me to say how the National Writing Project has impacted my life because it’s become so much a part of my life. As an aspiring photographer, I thought it a fitting end to include a sort of (incomplete) photographic timeline of my life through the NWP would be a fitting close to this piece. It’s amazing, looking back, to see the various physical transformations that have occurred as well!!
NWP Annual Meeting – Nashville, TN (2006) pregnant for Calder
Tech Matters Conference – Chico, CA (July 2007) Calder 4 months
NWP Annual Meeting – New York, NY (2007) first trip sans Calder
Reconnecting with Tech Matters friends in New York!
Web Presence Retreat – Denver, CO (2008) pregnant for Seneca
NWP Annual Meeting – San Antonio, TX (2008) Seneca 12 weeks
Web Presence Retreat (2009) First year on facilitation team
Resource Development Retreat – Tahoe City, CA (2009) First trip sans Seneca
NWP Annual Meeting – Philadelphia, PA (2009)
Web Presence Retreat (2010) My favorite photo EVER – 2nd year on facilitation team
NWP Annual Meeting – Orlando, FL (2010) A Magical Meeting indeed!
This post was written as part of a monthly challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers, to encourage writing and community. The goal is to write a Slice of Life entry each day throughout the month of March.