Summer and the Joyfully Literate Teacher…

The end of the Australian school year is rapidly approaching.  At the conclusion of every school year the need to tie up a multitude of loose ends prior to the summer holidays is paramount. It is a demanding time
However, I am equally aware there is a period of time looming on summer’s horizon when tired educators will have time to relax and regenerate their energy reserves.- A time for relaxation, holidays, family and recreation.

May I suggest that summer holidays present a fantastic opportunity to embrace your inner writer and launch your very own writer’s notebook?  If you have already made this decision - I applaud your actions. What a wonderful investment in your role as a teacher of writing!

Many teachers read extensively during vacation breaks. Free of the pressure of the classroom, it is possible to indulge in more personal reading; becoming re-acquainted with favourite authors; reading  that book you received as a gift.

It seems to me that at this point it makes perfect sense to add a little writing alongside your reading.  If you accept this challenge, it will mean that when the new school year begins you will have compiled a sampling of text that will assist you to model aspects of writing to a fresh group of students. It will give you immediate writing credibility with your students. You will have captured summer memories, made lists, gathered artefacts, made drawings, gathered photos, capture small yet significant moments. Such action will assist you to connect more easily to your students. You will assume the role of a teacher who writes, enabling you to teach writing from the inside. This is far better than trying to get kids to do something you make a conscious choice to avoid.  Your credibility plummets like a wounded duck!

Don’t wait until the school year begins. It will be too late then and you will be overwhelmed by a tsunami of administrative demands and organizational matters –you get the picture, I’m sure.  The world is full of people who are full of good intentions. The challenge is to turn one’s self into a real life action hero! 

Just as you want your students to make a good start to the school year, you should expect the same for yourself.  I’m not suggesting you write to some rigid schedule, just quarantine a little time to document some of the rich pickings of your summer. It will be a great investment in designing the writing curriculum – and it’s painless! I am not suggesting that you dedicate yourself to just writing about summer exclusively. As always you should focus on matters that are important to you. Maybe your reading may spark your writing, who knows?  

There is no better time to send this message. I need to reach you now while you still have your educators cap on. Hopefully, it isn’t pulled down over your eyes and your hands aren’t over your ears.

This summer, don’t just dive into the surf. Dive into some writing. -Approach writing in the same manner that one approaches summer reading. The writes of summer could provide the stimulus to launch a fabulous school year in 2012!  I can’t offer a free set of steak of knives with that, but I know it comes with certain intrinsic rewards.  Should you choose to accept this mission –share this joyous news with your colleagues!

As a writer, I love this time of the year. It affords me precious time to read and write. Time I don't have to steal. When the fog of the academic year fades away, my writing comes to the fore. I embrace it eagerly, knowing it will take me to new places and present new discoveries.  

Good luck with your projects. May you experience a joyfully literate summer.

Comments

  1. It's a wonderful letter, nudging so gently to your colleagues to add a little writing for their long break. It hits here in the states well too as we're about to embark on our long winter's nap, oops I mean vacation! Enjoy your time, and happy holidays, too!

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