a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Savior

Professional Development is my savior. 

This year has been the most stressful year in my 12-year teaching career.  We have a new superintendent, who is rolling out his “New View.”  While there is merit to his vision, I have to say that I am having difficulty swallowing how it is being implemented. 

I find myself turning to professional development outside of my district for a reminder of true best practices, for guidance and support, for a reminder of why I became a teacher so many years ago.

Last week Stacey posted an interview with Peter H.Johnston.  This post provided the spark to reignite my passion for education.  And that spark was much needed, let me tell you! 

Johnston mentioned that he is currently doing research with Gay Ivey on middle school.  I was intrigued, so I contacted my friend Google who hooked me up with more information: an action research paper.  Hey, I had to write one of those for my graduate program! 

Reading the work of Johnston and Ivey on reading engagement, achievement and moral development of middle school students reminded me of my own classroom.  The evidence they site is undeniably powerful and is similar to the kinds of things I see from my students. I know this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their work, but it was enough to whet my appetite.

At the risk of sounding like a major dork here, I am going to admit that reading this paper made me want to write my own action research paper.  Voluntarily.  Not as part of a class.  I want to get that much more intentional about the data I collect.  I want to reflect and research and grow as a teacher and write about it.  Formally. 

If I can get this excited after reading an interview, I can just imagine what a professional development experience like the NCTE conference is going to do for me!


  1. You are a professional teacher not just someone who goes to work. You want to learn and improve. You would do it no matter what your superintendent does. Inspiration is as important in learning as in writing. Admirable that you are tackling the task of action research. Looking forward to hear more about it.

  2. The article is very exciting; great that you have followed a personal path connected to it. Years ago there was an interesting book about personal research. Good luck with this quest.

  3. It's always hard to make a shift in action when a new administrator comes in. Good for you finding your own development! National conferences are such an incredible experience. So much to see and learn with so little time. Enjoy!

  4. I've been going through this same saga since we got our new superintendent. And I found that more and more I turned to the internet and the bloggers I follow for my professional development. Keep us updated on your experience!