The Kindness of (not-so-much) Strangers

234…That’s the number of emails I have yet to read this morning. I sign up for everything to get promised freebies, dynamic downloads, looking for that “Abracadabra” insight that will make this teaching thing better for my students, and so, too, for me.

Do any of you have this problem? I have written about excellent professional development experiences afforded me this year, both at a cost and for free, but truly I am a bit burned out right now. I am probably not alone, but it feels like it. The only thing I’m pausing for now after school hours is POETRY (well, to be honest poetry and Rebekah Dell Edwards’ in our Blended Learning group and Betsy Potash at Spark Creativity.)

Rebekah at Moving Writers, and I call her “Rebekah” because of the quality of communication we have had this year—I mean personal exchanges where she specifically addresses my concerns. I feel like I know her. As soon as the NCTE Convention returns, I can’t wait to shake her hand, maybe even give her a hug. She has been a rock for me.

Then there’s Betsy. I don’t even belong to her Lighthouse group, a paid-membership community, yet twice I’ve written her emails asking for help regarding something she generously shared and for which I needed clarification. Fingers crossed, I sent the request but, sort of like buying a lottery ticket, forgot all about it, because, why should she? I don’t pay anything. BOTH TIMES she graciously responded and thanked me “for reaching out.” If you have never tried her FREE hexagonal thinking tools with your kids, delay no further. I was skeptical until I tried it; Gadzooks! Discussion ensued! (The silence of crickets—no more.)

Today the Library of Congress is offering a workshop, Living Nations, Living Words with Jo Harjo, our National Poet Laureate. I will be there, because…poetry.

In April “my” organization, the Oregon Council of Teachers of English (OCTE), will offer four phenomenal speakers, one each Wednesday, around the theme “Discovering Untold Stories.” Just writing about it makes me happy—and excited.

So maybe I’m not as burned out as I think I am. How about you?

6 thoughts on “The Kindness of (not-so-much) Strangers”

  1. It is always great to reach out to those who have ideas that stimulate us. To get a personal response from them – WOW. I think this says so much about teachers and educators. They are willing to share ideas if you just ask. PCTELA (Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts) is planning our annual conference for October this year. It is going to be held virtually and in person. Should be interesting to see how it works out.

    1. I wish you all sorts of luck with the conference. We’re thinking of a face-to-face in October and a Spring Virtual, as the new standard. Only time will tell.

  2. I’ve been feeling burned out for the past couple of weeks, so I appreciate your post. I think taking time to stop and give gratitude like you did here helps us keep going. I find so many teachers to be so kind and generous with their time and resources. Your post made me feel good about the work I’m doing.

  3. Betsy’s stuff is great! I haven’t been able to get to the hexagonal thinking activity so far this year but it’s on my list to try! And I’m obsessed with everything Rebekah O’Dell does. So good! I never pay for resources, but I had to pay to subscribe to Inside the Blended Workshop, and it’s been so great. She really inspires me as a teacher.

    1. I paid for Rebekah, too, and it’s been worth every penny! You won’t be sorry to try hexagonal thinking. I was stunned at the engagement, really.

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