Slice of Life #6
I spent most of my writing energy this morning drafting a letter of recommendation for a colleague who has decided to not do the south bay commute next fall, even though she likes her job at her bilingual school. I am lucky to have a counter-commute and I see what rush hour in the other direction. A mess even without accidents or emergencies.
As I wrote a little history of how I met E. in the 2004 Intensive Summer Institute, through the days she led summer open programs and Saturday seminars in teaching writing workshop. I remembered more scenes of her effective work. And I recalled how much I liked planning with E. My letter touched on her work in student summer programs, both directing and designing workshops for elementary students that rocked. E. was a key presenter for high needs school grant work. She and I have been on several district partnerships for launching writing workshop. It was a pleasure to recommend her.
What stood out most about E. is her leadership style. She listens and she doesn’t make people feel criticized. She manages restless students with kindness and quiet. She knows a great deal about her subject, but doesn’t come off as a know-it-all with teachers. She’s a great role model for a coach.
Writing the letter made me think of my peers, colleagues in the San Jose Area Writing Project, whom I’ve been privileged to work with and learn from. Most of these teachers have challenged me to grow, especially those who have developed Pd along with me. These are people I would not have met without SJAWP. There are teachers on my campus and in my small district whom I like very much. But writing that recommendation this morning brought a fresh gratitude for my association with the local writing project. SJAWP has drawn together educators I truly appreciate.
While I was drafting the letter, another teacher friend from southern California was emailing me. It was a back and forth think aloud on how she might best present mini-lessons in a district up here in my neighborhood she’s been supporting. Again, I felt glad to have colleagues, people in the same corner — teacher leaders who want to inspire teachers to teach writing and do it well — and lucky for me, I will see K. after work Monday so we can catch up.
Having great professional friends is what I recommend. It is worth working overtime or traveling to connect with them.