Slice of Life 1: Every Eight Weeks
By Janice Ewing
This is a transition weekend for me, between grad classes that is. One semester just ended and the next is about to begin. There something about transitions that makes me reflective. Maybe that’s why it seemed like a good year to jump into the March Slice of Life challenge, which I’ve followed, but haven’t participated in before. So here it is, a very wintry March 1st, and I’ve just finished “Spring 1” and am about to start “Spring 2,” with a group of teachers who are new to me, but not to each other. I teach in a cohort program, so if the course, like the one coming up, is far along in the program, the teachers often know each other better than colleagues in their own schools, and I’m the new kid on the block. That raises its own interesting issues – where people sit, food habits, break time, and the like have often been well-established before I arrive. No matter, I’m flexible enough to adapt to those aspects of the ecosystem as I find them.
My previous class ended this past Wednesday, and the next one starts on Thursday, so this weekend my thoughts are divided. I’m looking back at the class that just ended (I actually just finished commenting on final projects) and reflecting on what I might have done differently, what I might tweak for the next time I teach that course, and what I would keep pretty much the same. Overall, I feel a sense of accomplishment, because this was a class that took most of the teachers out of their comfort zones, and yet everyone not only survived, but acknowledged that they learned, stretched, and grew. That’s a lot for eight weeks!
Looking ahead to the next eight weeks, there are many unknowns. What are the dynamics among this particular group of teachers? Where are they on the continuum of still hopeful and passionate about teaching to worn down and discouraged? Wherever they are, how can I inspire them to reignite or deepen the love of learning and teaching that brought them to this profession in the first place? What will the next eight weeks bring, as we make this transition together?
* This “Slice of Life” post is part of a larger blog series, hosted by the blog site, Two Writing Teachers: A Meeting Place for a World of Reflective Writers.
Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.