The Northern Virginia Writing Project’s Invitational Summer Institute wrapped up yesterday. It was, as Lin-Manuel Miranda would say, “a bit of a day”.
When I came into the ISI, I’ll admit I was a little skeptical. Every educator I’ve known who has gone through the program has come out touting its transformative nature. “You’ll change!” They said. I thought, “Sure!” Waiting for the moment when I would have a profound enlightened awakening.
It happened. I’m not sure exactly when, but I DID change. Each day of this institute had a profound impact. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try:
Through this 4 weeks, I’ve gathered a collection of experiences and resources that will inspire me throughout this school year as I work to do what’s best for my students and my school.
Perhaps more important than the resources are the people. We’ve had rich discussions in a sanctuary where disagreeing is not only allowed, but supported. There was no fear in room 447. We shared our thoughts, our writing, and ourselves, knowing that whatever risks we took were together, and that we couldn’t fail. We weren’t alone, and we aren’t alone. We’re all now part of a network of excellent educators who are both different and the same, and who we know we can reach out to for support in times of frustration or celebration.
We spent time reflecting on our journey as writers over the past four weeks.
As we reflected yesterday in a thinking labyrinth, I held this phrase in my mind: “Keep your head up and your heart open.” Gradually it morphed into: “Open heart, open mind.” If I can hold on to this feeling throughout the school year, how can I fail?
Today as I start a new notebook, I'm amazed at the possibilities it could hold... as long I can remain open to them. We've explored all these possibilities together during the ISI.
Crafted creative characters
Reflective, recursive, responsive, real
Articulate, artful, anti-standardization
Personal and public pieces.
And we’ve read them, shared them, and admittedly, kept some of them for ourselves.
The ISI is definitely about the writing. It’s about the people and the writing, though. And thanks to both of those things, I can now safely remove the question mark from the title of my blog.
I am a writer.