Over the past 2 weeks, I spent seven days in a classroom full of other teachers, writing, reading, talking, laughing, and getting a lot of work done. The Maine Writing Project, which started as an online course for the spring semester, is an incredible opportunity to talk about teaching and writing and to work with some inspiring folks. I got so much out of this week that I haven't even had time to let it all sink in. I have visions of writing prompts and mentor texts dancing in my head.
This is my friend Emily, with whom I have taken several classes throughout this degree program. Besides sharing the same name, we also are both mothers, runners, high school English teachers, and overall kindred spirits. Also, Emily is hilarious, extremely sarcastic and witty and it is a joy to sit beside her in class.
We worked from 8:30 to 4:00 each day, which you may think would be tiring, but the time flew by. The requirements for the course were many, but there was such a great variety between work for teaching and writing for self that I was never bored for a second.
Plus, every day I made one of these incredible power salads over at the student union's salad bar: spinach, beets, feta, broccoli, carrots, garbanzos and sunflower seeds. YUM. I will miss that salad bar.
The fruits of my labor are all inside this binder. I assign my students to create writing portfolios, and I have to say, I hope they experience the same sense of satisfaction that I have by putting all of this work into one place. It's got heft. I love it.
Another piece of this week that was kind of cool:
I was asked by my friend and professor and advisor Rich Kent to participate in a radio interview with him on the National Writing Project Radio (NWP) program. Rich was being interviewed about a book he wrote about using writing as a coaching tool: Writing on the Bus. This spring, I wrote a review of his book for the National Writing Project. Rich asked me to speak as a reader, as well as a blogger, teacher and a runner.
So, last night, the interview took place at 7pm, and was broadcast live (on the NWP website).
Here is how it was advertised:
And here is my funny story:
I knew I needed some quiet space to call in to the interview, which was being hosted from the California NWP office, so my mom agreed to take the kids at her house while I sat in the car in her driveway so as not to be interrupted. I also needed to have my laptop, and be online, so that I could follow along with the order or questions (that we had ahead of time) on a google doc. So, I loaded the document, went out to my car, and called into the show. I was a little nervous, but ready.
Then I mistakenly hit refresh on the google doc, but I had lost internet connection by being outside my mom's house, and couldn't get it back. As the minutes were ticking down until we went live (there was an automated voice on the line saying "8 minutes until showtime.") I walked back into my mom's house and tried to get the google doc up. It wouldn't load. I balanced my phone and laptop while walking around my mom's house, while listening to Tanya, the show's host, explain how the show was going to work. "5 minutes until showtime." I couldn't get online. I considered just flying blind and letting myself be totally spontaneous without the order of questions in front of me. Then that thought made me even more nervous.
I took my laptop into the car and started driving away. The first place that I thought of where I need I could get online was at a Tim Horton's with free wi-fi about 10 miles away. So, now I'm driving 60 miles an hour on the interstate when the automated voice says: "You are live in 5. 4. 3. 2. 1...."
Luckily, I was the 4th person interviewed during the 1-hour program, so I really had to just listen as I drove. As the interview was already underway, I pulled into a parking spot at Tim Horton's, got myself connected to the google doc, and was able to find where we were in the question line-up.
Phew! (I will add here that when Rich read this story, he said to me: "you are such a loser.") I know.
When it was getting closer to my turn, I did feel nervous, but Tanya, the host, made me feel relaxed, and I think I forgot I was on the radio at all, but rather was just talking to a friend. Her questions got me talking about writing, teaching, blogging about running, connecting with other athletes and my students.
I know, I know. You are dying to hear the interview.
It's right here. I start talking at 37:00. LIVE FROM THE TIM HORTON'S PARKING LOT!