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 Joy 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?